Look at the Fig Tree through the eyes of Faith, with 20-20 Vision--Mark 11:12 and Matthew 21: 1-11
Look at the Fig Tree through the eyes of Faith, with 20-20 Vision
After the Triumphal entry of Jesus at Jerusalem, the Pharisees were upset, the Jews denied Him; then Jesus and the disciples, go to Bethany; I think Bethany was a place of rest for our Lord; a place He felt loved. Let’s begin our reading in Mark chapter 11; the next day after their arrival at Bethany.
Mark 11:12-14 (KJV) And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:20-26 (KJV) And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
The book of Matthew also gives us an account of the parable of the Fig Tree as well. Today I’m interested in looking at the Fig Tree and the Words Jesus said about it; specifically His response; “Have faith in God.” When Peter said that Jesus cursed the Fig Tree, but Jesus did not use that language at all; Jesus simply said, “no man eat of thee hereafter for ever”
My first glimpse at the Fig Tree, gives me the through of having Faith in God, but seeing no fruit!!! …
Throughout the New Testament, Jesus used parables to illustrate a Spiritual Truth, and down through the ages, this has been referred to as an earthly lesson. Why? I personally think it’s because of a twofold reason.
(1) So that those who were willing to hear could better understand what Jesus had to say.
(2) And, so those who were unwilling to hear would not understand what Jesus had to say. Jesus wanted to bring blessings on those who would hear, and keep judgement off those who would not hear.
Jesus used the Fig Tree as an object lesson, to go through the eye gate and ear gate, and teach the disciples what’s going on among the Jews.
It’s important to review a Brief Background of the Fig Tree: The Fig Tree is a picture of the promise land, the promise land is described in Deuteronomy 8:7-8 (KJV) For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey;
We often talk about the milk and honey of the promise land, but one of the things God promised was the Fig Tree. The pomegranates and Figs were among the treasures which the spies brought back to show the rich fertility of the promise land. The promise land is a picture of peace and prosperity, and is connected with the Figs.
Micah 4:3-5 (KJV) And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts hath spoken it. For all people will walk every one in the name of his god, and we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.
In our scripture today, Mark chapter 11, as they came out of Jerusalem, and Jesus had been despised by the Jews; they spent the night in Bethany and came across a Fig Tree. Jesus looks at the Fig Tree, and is thinking there may be Figs on, the reason He’s thinking that is because when there’s leaves on the Fig Tree, there is supposed to be fruit.
NOTE 1: The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) says; The miracle of the Lord which is connected and accrued with Passover season (that would be April); is understood better if we think about the Fig Tree. In early April the Fig Tree has leaves, then blossoms, then there are what’s called early Figs. They’re not as taste as the normal Figs but they’re eatable. Then later in June the Fig Tree gets leaves again and blossoms, and those Figs are eatable and very sweet to the taste .
Jesus approaches this Fig Tree, He sees that there are leaves and there is supposed to be Figs! We know He’s God manifested and knowing all, but here the scripture refers to Him in His manhood and says, He thought there would be Figs because there were leaves!
Throughout the Bible Israel as a Nation is pictured as a Fig Tree. In Mark 13:28-29 (KJV) Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near: So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
NOTE2: Here He’s giving Israel as His time calendar or schedule; I would stop here and go ahead and say; we can learn by watching Israel! God loves Israel, they are still His chosen people, they have been set aside and they have not been cast off, and they will not be destroyed, and the Church has not replaced Israel! The promises to Israel are different than the promises of the Church. Israel has earthly promises, you and I who are saved have Heavenly promises. The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 10:32 (KJV) Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
NOTE3: I believe God looks at this world and He sees three groups of people.
(1) He sees the Jew (those are the chosen people).
(2) He sees the Gentiles (those that need to be saved).
(3) And, He sees the Church (that is made up of Jew and Gentile who have been born again).
NOTE4: In scripture God deals with Israel as the Fig Tree, so here’s the parable as Jesus teaches the disciples. He want them to look at this Fig Tree and learn some lessons about Israel and themselves. When you and I look at the Fig Tree, we can learn some lessons about ourselves and our Spiritual life.
The Lessons in the Fig Tree are
- Lesson about Fruitlessness, it’s a lesson about: (a parable on production) the Tree that does not bear Fruit it has become useless and of no value.
Jesus said in John 15:8 (KJV) Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
- A Christians is supposed to bear fruit of the Spirit as they yield themselves to the Holy Spirit of God. Not just our inner Spirit life, but also our social life. Bearing fruit as a witness for God in our day to day activities wherever we go. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21 (KJV) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
Jesus gives us a lesson about fruit bearing in Luke 13:6-9 (KJV) He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
- I know we cannot save anyone, but we can influence them in the Gospel. The apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:15 (KJV) For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.
- Do we have or do we want any Spiritual fruit?
Illustration to help us see with 20-20 vision, the urgency of sharing the Gospel: The link below is an article by Naftali Bendavid of the Wall Street Journal, he devoted a long article about the plight of religious heritage buildings in Europe. We can read more about this research of city officials and entrepreneurs have repurposed empty churches and have made them skate park, gymnastic training areas, museums, supermarkets, gyms, and even bars. Bendavid goes on to say, these rapidly empting church buildings though are only a symbol of Europe’s true spiritual decline, while people don’t regularly sit in the pews anymore, they’ve given up visibly observing religion. He said they reflect the rapid wreaking of Faith in Europe. When we compare Germany alone, where the population is ¼ the amount of the United States; Germany is the home of 10 times as many Atheist (One who disbelieves the existence of a God). https://www.frh-europe.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Europes-Churches-Go-Up-for-Sale-Wall-Street-Journal1.pdf
- Why would I share this article with you; because when we reach a point when our life brings no Glory to God we have become fruitless, and Jesus said in Luke 13: “cut it down;” When we have become satisfied where we are and do not bear fruit, Jesus said, cut it down. The simplest way we can share the Gospel, is give someone who crosses our daily path, a Gospel Tract; let it be a Tract that we have already read, and ask them to read it because God loves them.
- Lesson about Falseness, is the next lesson and it’s: (a parable on perception), the Fig Tree that has leaves is supposed to have fruit) when Jesus comes upon this Fig Tree, He finds it to be a Fake, a Fraud, it’s like a Pharisees (outward religion with no inward reality); it’s a fog.
- When I think about Fig Trees in the Bible, the first time it was mentioned is in the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve had rebelled against God, they ate the fruit of the tree God told them not to eat. The Bible say their eyes were both opened, and they sewed Fig leaves together and made themselves aprons. They were covered…a frauds before God.
- Don’t we know that, no one can fool God or pull the wool over God, no one can deceive God.
Proverbs 15:3 (KJV) The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Hebrews 4:13 (KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
- Jesus was teaching the disciples a lesson about the Pharisees (they were religious but not Spiritual….they have leaves but no fruit!
- It’s a terrible thing; it is a dangerous thing to live a false religious life.
- In Matthew chapter 23 (KJV), Jesus called the Pharisees? whited sepulchres’ which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. In verse 23 He says, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
- A lesson we can learn about the Pharisees is; we cannot fool God.
NOTE5: What I truly believe, I practice every day; everything else is just religious.
- Lesson about Faithlessness, it’s a lesson about: (a parable on Power)
NOTE6: All three is these lessons are good; this one is especially good, this one teaches those of us who are born again washed in the Blood of the Lamb; how to access the Power of God and get our prays answered.
Let’s dive in; what’s interesting to me is that Jesus adds something to this passage “Have Faith in God”… in Mark 11:21-23 (KJV) And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
- After the disciple pointed out what happened to The Fig Tree, Jesus responds, “Have Faith in God” Mark 11:24 (KJV) Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
NOTE7: what really pinches my attention here is, after Jesus talks about leaves and no fruit He makes this statement to the disciples; “Have Faith in God” He was teaching them to LEARN TO PRAY…if we will learn to pray…believing. You know how to end up with fruit and not just leave; learn to pray…pray believing, and the results will be answered.
In Luke after the disciples had watched Jesus and walked with Him, they said Lord, teach us to pray. Why? They saw the power of His Prays. Learn how to pray. In Matthew chapter 17 when Jesus comes down off the mount of transfiguration; Matthew 17:14-21 (KJV) And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
John 15:3-8 (KJV) Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
- Jesus gives us the answer when we look at the Fig Tree. The last thing I want to be is without the Power of God upon my life. If you’d agree with me, then pray believing, and what you truly believe, practice it every day. Pray!!!
NOTE8: All of us who are saved can pray; Hebrews 4:16 (KJV) Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. All of us who are saved, have a way open to the very presence of God through the Blood of Christ. All of us who are saved have a Heavenly Father Who hears us; we have a High Priest Who intercedes for us; we have a Holy Ghost Who makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. That’s what the apostle Paul said in Romans 8:26 (KJV)…all of us can pray, and we just want be leaves only; we can have fruit in our lives.
Let’s pray for one another; next to this verse in my Bible I’ve written as a reminder to me “pray for the brethren” 1 Samuel 12:23 (KJV) Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
Written by: A.D. Newton