Monday, October 4, 2010

Mark 11:12-14 Jesus Curses a fig tree

12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

Now Jesus coming out of Bethany and seeing a fig tree from afar having leaves on it yet not finding any fruit on it is in many ways symbolic of His visiting Jerusalem as the Messiah. For like with the fig tree which having leaves from a distance gave the impression of fruitfulness, so with Jerusalem, which one could likewise see from Bethany. However when Jesus came to the fig tree; as with Jerusalem He found no fruit on it, for it was not the season for figs. And so in response to the fig trees barrenness, which again in many ways parallels Jerusalem which was also barren of faith in Jesus as the Messiah, when He visited it, Jesus said to the fig tree: “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”

Thus Jesus cursed the fig tree (vs. 21). Whether or not you transfer that curse directly onto Jerusalem is up for interpretation, yet Christ’s own Words, as well as the historic evidence which followed Jesus’ Words; which chronologically occur later in the gospel about Jerusalem’s, indeed the nations and the Temple’s destruction lay a strong basis for interpreting it that way. For ultimately the city Jerusalem, indeed the whole nation of Israel itself will not bear the fruits of God, which others may find salvation by, until they receive Jesus Christ as their Lord (See Matt. 23:37-39).

Now as Jesus without warning visited Jerusalem so He will visit each and every one of us if our lives upon hearing the gospels message about faith in Jesus Christ’s Person through His crucifixion death and resurrection from the dead, as the sole basis by which we receive remission of all our sins and new life, are being lived devoid of faith. For there is nothing more discordant with the gospel than Sunday morning “religion” that does not bear any semblance or likeness to the fruits of God during the rest of the week. For it is by the Holy Spirit and His fruits in our lives that the gospel’s message is often authenticated too, and embraced by, those around us.

Therefore in the gospels Jesus clearly warns that those who take His delay in coming again as opportunity for folly and lawlessness and begin to beat their fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, will be visited by Him on a day and hour they do not expect (Matt. 24:45-51). Similarly John the Baptist warned that every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire (Matt. 3:10-12). And so it became with Jerusalem the religious epicenter of Israel. They were as God’s covenant people to be living lives of faith in expectation of the Messiah’s visitation (Malachi 3-4), just as we are, but when Jesus visited Jerusalem they were unprepared for Him. That is why Jesus warns us all Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Matt. 24:44 Now Jerusalem had all of the outward ceremony, but none of the inward life which only comes from believing in and seeking to obey God. Not by the traditions of men, but as Jesus said by the commandments of God (Matt. 15:1-9). Which He Himself now has giving us both directly and by the Holy Spirit through His Biblical Apostles (Acts 1:2; Rev. 14:12). However when Jesus visited Jerusalem and the Temple and He looked at all the things there He did not find the fruit of God in its midst. Instead the nation and specifically its leaders were divided into various religious and political factions that were either vying for power within Roman rule, or some sort of autonomy by which they themselves could rule, not for God; for His setting up His Kingdom, as promised in the Scriptures and which Jesus Christ came to fulfill, but for themselves (Mark 12:1-12). The prophet Zechariah clearly foresaw all of this, as the state of the nation when the Messiah would visit it, as well as their rejection of Him and thus their horrible destruction (see Zech. 11:4-14). The Apostle John specifically tells this, that the religious leaders were more concerned about maintaining their own places within the status quo than in anything having to do with God’s plans through Jesus Christ the Messiah, for either Israel, or the world (See John 11:45-54); while Jesus Himself declares in a parable this as the state of affairs in Israel to their leadership, to both the Pharisees and chief priests (Matt. 21:33-46). Nonetheless though Israel was cut off for a season, until the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled (Rom. 11:25-27) they will be restored when they receive the One whom they have pierced (Zech. 12:1-13:1; Matt. 23:37-39). At that time never again will unjust men rule in Israel, but Jesus Christ the Lord.

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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