The Fruitless Fig Tree
Our next door neighbors at our old house had a large fig tree growing on the east side of their house. We could walk right out our garage, across the driveway, through some plum trees, and there it was. Of course, Adam and Eve tried to cover their nakedness with the large leaves of the fig tree, but it’s the fruit, not the leaves, that you want. Our neighbor’s tree would have figs all over it, and when they became ripe in season, they were sweet and grainy—better than even the filling in a Fig Newton.
During Jesus’ last week on earth, he looked at a fig tree between Bethany and Jerusalem. He was hungry, but when he got to the tree, there was nothing but a lot of leaves.
“The next day after the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem and his brief visit to the Temple, Jesus was coming to Jerusalem from Bethany. He was hungry, and when he saw a fig tree from a distance that was full of leaves, he came to it to see if possibly he might find some fruit on it. But when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for it wasn’t the season for figs. And he said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-14
If this were just a story about fig trees—trees that obviously wouldn’t have fruit on them out of season-- then Jesus seems like an angry Jewish prophet that cursed a simple tree because he couldn’t satisfy his hunger. But if we track the Story, we remember that the day before crowds celebrated Jesus as the Son of David, the King of Israel, as the one who would provide salvation.
Tragically for the majority of Israel, especially the priests, legal religious experts, and the Sadducees and Pharisees who made up the Sanhedrin, it was not the time when they would respond to Jesus. Instead, the majority of the leadership rejected him and handed him over to the Gentiles to be crucified just as he predicted three times.
This core that wouldn’t accept Jesus as their Messiah in AD 33 responded enthusiastically to the call of the Zealots in AD 67. They tried to fight the Romans and set up their own king, but Tiberius crushed their rebellion. In AD 70 he burned their Temple to ground and scattered their people like chaff all over the Empire.
Jesus’ statement about the fig tree warns all of us. It’s important to join those crying out to Jesus now. Now is the time to cast oneself upon Jesus’ mercy and let him save. Our religion of self-help and human effort may be luxuriant, but look close. There’s no genuine fruit of resurrection life and the gift of a new life that is given not based upon our human effort but upon Jesus gift. Let’s trust today in his power and love, and be fruitful.
LORD, may your Spirit produce his sweet fruit in me today—the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Thanks for the challenge we were able to give Kenyans today to allow the Spirit to generate this fruit in their relationships as husbands and wives.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!