A Barren Fig Tree That Bears No Fruit


Daily Bible Reading – Numbers 34-36; Mark 11

Today’s Key Passage – Mark 11:12-26

In today’s key passage, we find two events that took place during the week in which Jesus would be crucified.  The first event involves a fig tree.  Jesus saw from a distance that the fig tree was mature and was filled with leaves, but when he got close, it did not have any figs growing on it.  He cursed the fig tree for not bearing fruit, saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”  The next day when Jesus and the disciples passed by the fig tree, they noticed that it had withered from the roots.  The second event in our key passage is when Jesus entered the temple and began driving out the people who were doing business there.  He overturned tables and benches and stopped people from carrying merchandise, saying, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”  At first glance, these two events might appear to be unrelated.  Upon further review, however, we will find that these two stories are very much related because they both teach us the same lesson.  In fact, the event with the fig tree is really a live version of a parable regarding what happened in the temple.

So what is the lesson?  What is Jesus trying to teach us with these two stories?  Both stories talk about appearances differing from reality.  The fig tree appeared to be mature.  It was filled with leaves and should have been capable of bearing fruit.  In reality, though, it had no fruit to offer.  From a distance, the tree appeared to be fine, but up close, something was definitely wrong with it.  The “hypocrisy” of the fig tree hurt Jesus’ heart and he cursed the tree causing it to wither and die.  When he went to the temple, he was surrounded by “religious” people.  On the outside, these people appeared to be believers.  In reality, though, the moneychangers and the merchants often cheated people by charging inflated exchange rates and prices.  They basically extorted others during Passover in an effort to gain wealth, and used the temple to do it.  From a distance, the merchants appeared to be religious, but up close, something was definitely wrong with them.  The hypocrisy of the merchants hurt Jesus’ heart and he turned over their tables and called them a den of robbers.

As you can see, both of these stories teach us the same lesson.  When appearances do not match up to reality, it hurts Jesus’ heart.  It is not enough for us to “appear” to be religious.  It is not enough for us to “appear” to love Jesus.  It is not enough for us to “appear” to follow Him.  If we do not actually have faith in him deep down in our hearts, we are like the fig tree that bears no fruit or the moneychangers cheating people.  Going to church, having a relative who is a pastor or trying our best to be nice to others does not make us believers.  Acting one way when you are at church and then acting completely different at work is not what Jesus is looking for in a disciple.  God does not look at the externals.  Unlike people, He does not care about how we try to appear before others.  He only cares about our hearts.  He only cares about how we truly feel about him and about others.  Some people believe they can fake it until they make it, but Jesus knows better.  When we have great faith – true faith – it shows up in our hearts and we will bear fruit for the Kingdom.  If not, we will wither from the roots.

During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you?  Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.

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Posted on March 4, 2012, in 02 - Mark and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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