In fact, He arrived on Saturday, John 12 tells us, six days before the Passover. Because what do you want? I want the best that God wants for me. The fruit comes before the leaves. Oh, that’s obvious. Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. The Lord's Day Evening February 26, 2012 “The Withered Fig Tree: A Teachable Moment” Mark 11:12-14, 20-25 The Reverend Mr. William E. Dempsey Let me ask you to open your Bible to Mark chapter 11. The life cycle of a fig tree is similar to the spiritual life of an individual. A fig tree in the Old Testament was a symbol of blessing, of peace, of abundance – and that was due both to the fruit it bore and to the shade it gave. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. “And I looked for it to bring forth grapes, and it brought forth sour berries. It’s in the Babylonian Talmud that they call the great rabbis “rooter up of mountains.” In other words, people who could remove great obstacles, people who could solve great problems, people who express great power. Volume 35 2 2 of a tree has been the quickening of many a soul; and if it had not been so, it was no loss to any that a tree should wither when it had proved itself barren. – “know them.”. f. There is a direct link between the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the Temple. in saying that His house was meant to be called a house of prayer "for all nations" Including the Gentiles. “How soon is the fig tree withered away,” they said. I just – I get tired of impotence. They continue to demonstrate a religion that is leaves without fruit. I want whatever God wants for me. They are still not interested in the Jesus of the Bible. I’m a King, but not the kind of king you’re used to.”. And they’re cursed. Now, obviously that’s not literal; that’s a picture of power. If you have faith and don’t doubt, you’ll not only be able to do things like that, but you could say to this mountain” – and that would no doubt refer to the Mount of Olives – “‘Be cast into the sea’” – and the sea that was on the backside of that would have been the Dead Sea, 4,000 feet down – “You could say to this mountain, ‘Dump yourself into that sea,’ and it would be done.”. a. c. The people of Israel had the mission of proclaiming the truth of God not just to themselves but to ALL people. However, the nation as a whole has proved to be both lacking faith and barren of good fruitage. We think that God builds His Church by better programs. But in order to share faith one must live by faith, and forgive others no matter what the offence. Like the cursed fig tree, the nation of Israel seemingly died. 25"There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. There are paradoxes in the Bible that I don’t understand. So there you have it … Christ’s parable of the Fig Tree in Matthew 24:32-35 and Moses’ length of a generation in Psalms 90:10 go hand in hand in confirming Jesus Christ’s rapturous return “immediately after the Great Tribulation” will happen in the year AD 2028! We saw some of them. Infuse into the deadness of their life Thy living power through Christ, that they may bear fruit and not be cut down and cast into the fire like so many Judas branches. “And presently the fig tree withered away.” You compare the passage in Mark, “On the first day He cursed it. But we need to stop at this point. We went down for the sacred lighting of the first candle of Hanukkah against the wall. The story tells us that the tree was in full bloom, so Jesus would have expected there to be figs. Verse 19, “And when He saw a fig tree along the way, He came to it, found nothing on it but leaves only” – stop there. Jesus is the King, and the King does what the King wants to do because He’s the King. The Parable of the Fig Tree Dan Rodgers Matthew 24:32-44 ILLUS: When my wife and I drive down to the Delta, instead to taking Highway 5 and turning off at Highway 4 to Rio Vista, we enjoy taking the river route. Oh, what a mystery: the divine God, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He gets hungry. Please respond to confirm your registration. Then Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! Both of those are acts of sovereign authority. I gave a winepress” – that’s a sacrificial system. Many people have been turned off of Christianity because they have watched the lives of those in the Church and saw that often they don't live what is preached. He hungers for our holiness: he longs that his … We are going to take a look at the parable of the fig tree this morning. In chapter 28, “It’ll come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently to the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all His commandments, which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth” - in other words, if you’re obedient – “God’ll bless you, and all these blessings shall come on thee and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God. And it has been a patient pronunciation. Then, right after the teaching and application of the parable, He said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels … It was all established in Deuteronomy 28. And then, Lord, for those of us who are fruit-bearing Christians, but who have never really been faithful to persistent prayer and therefore never seeing Your power the way we could see it, call us, O God, by Your Spirit to a more faithful prayer life, through greater diligence. Mark 11:20 and 21 indicates the next morning, when they came by, it had died from the roots up. I tell you you’re overwhelmed with that when you’re there. 24. And may we go to prayer on behalf of each other and the purposes of our Lord and His glorious kingdom. And if you don’t understand them, you won’t understand why they wanted Him dead. But when He got there it says He found nothing on it but leaves only. They have a form of godliness. In fact, in Micah 5:2, it says He would be born in Bethlehem, but His goings would have been of old from everlasting. Do you think there’s a connection? It was too early for the fruit to have died. And after the conclusion of that procession, He returned to Bethany on Monday night and spent the night in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. But remember that I said the Lord had his disciples with Him? But let me just give you a little bit of a background so you’ll understand why He said this. “And as we ask in prayer, believing, we receive.” Oh, not that we may consume it on our lusts, because James 4:3 says we won’t get those kind of things. He came to the town of Bethany, having left Jericho, where He had healed two blind men – one named Bartimaeus – and where He had given salvation to a man named Zacchaeus, who was a tax collector. So, everybody went out and cut down all their trees. Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. They are not interested in one who will confront them about their sins; they’re interested in a political, military, economic, and social Savior. You go – we’ll be traveling along in the Jordan Valley, and jets are zooming a thousand feet over the ground, up and down. The fruit of thy body, the fruit of the ground, the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy cows, the flocks of thy sheep, thy basket, thy kneading trough. They’re preserved because God will redeem them in the future when the Messiah comes. Why? The fig tree is a symbol of the prosperity and the wealth and the richness of that land agriculturally. It may have been that somebody specially cared for that, or it may have been that God just had that tree bloom a little early. It’s Passover time in Jerusalem, and so the city is overflowing with multitudes of people, and finding a place to stay is not easy. He's swinging on a swing in the school playground. A sermon on the parable of the fig tree. A fig tree in the Old Testament was a symbol of blessing, of peace, of abundance – and that was due both to the fruit it bore and to the shade it gave. In this case the fig tree story helps us to understand what Jesus is doing clearing the Temple. They can only fly three minutes in any direction without being over one of their borders. Sometimes, people would sit and have conversations under a fig tree. So, we move from the predicament to the parable in verse 19. It is amazing that Jesus was able to pack so much activity into a seven day period of time. Mark tells us the first meeting with the fig tree was on the first day He came in to cleanse the temple. Oh, surely they would have. A mustard seed’s a small seed that produces – what? In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. The Olivet Discourse: Learn the lesson of the fig tree. We’ll give attention to a visual parable tonight. You say, “Well, that doesn’t seem to be connected with the lesson. This was not the kind of King they looked for, and may I add it still isn’t. It was coronation day, at least His earthly coronation. Verse 49 says, “The Lord’s going to bring a nation against you from the end of the earth, as swift as an eagle; a nation whose tongue you don’t understand.” And all of that is curse. With its focus on business, the temple supplied no fruit, did not nourish any hungry or thirsty soul with the gospel of peace-with-God and forgiveness of sins. And he said to the dresser of his vineyard, ‘Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.’” I don’t know, maybe that has something to say to connect up with the three years of our Lord’s ministry, calling for fruit from Israel. And then, in chapter 5, it’s curse, curse, curse, curse, curse, curse six times. Mark 11:21. They are doing their thing. And what God is saying here is Israel is a nation with a pretense of religion that is unsaved, unredeemed, lost, cut off from God. b. Fruit. Why let it cumber the ground?’. It wasn’t just after the three years of His ministry that the fulfillment of that curse came. A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, March 20, 1870, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. In the first place, it shouldn’t have even been there with leaves on it, because it was only April, and fig trees, though they bloom twice a year, the early fruit doesn’t come until May or June. However, the Jews, who hated the Gentiles, hoped that the Messiah would one day come and cleanse the temple of all Gentiles and get rid of them once and for all. The gardener who asks for more time in the life of the tree is Christ. We stopped in Brussels, Belgium, and we got out into the airport, and they lined up a mass of them along the windows, and they began to do their genuflecting with the little boxes on their head and the phylacteries on their arms. That’s in Mark chapter 11. It ended at the temple. Matthew condenses both of those into just one narrative, from verse 18 to 22. And this was not consistent with what they expected. And so, Jesus, no doubt, enjoys specially the rest that He finds in the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Jesus' parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. And surely they would have provided that. Turn back for a moment. And so, He takes this illustration, and He turns it to a spiritual principle for them. He wants the swing and says, "Get off the swing, Twinky." They’re saying, “Lord, what power. Fig trees where the ‘Starbucks’ of the day. Now listen, you obey, you’re blessed; you don’t obey, you’re – what? And may we pray for mountains to be cast into seas. A great teacher may do far more than destroy a tree, But this fig tree was unlike most fig trees. And they disobeyed, and they disobeyed, and they disobeyed, and they disobeyed, and they are continuing today to disobey. And they’re going through religious motions. He said, “Learn the lesson of the fig tree.” We don’t know if Peter, James, John, or any of the earliest disciples understood what he meant. And may we accept the fact that all things, whatever we ask believing, we shall receive - in prayer, we can experience, as we pray in Your name; consistent with Your will, Your purpose, Your Son and with persistent faith. And I warn you that if you’re life is a life of leaves without fruit, you are cursed and doomed just like the nation Israel was. And they would stand up at their prayer times, in the middle of the aisle in the plane, and they would wrap the phylacteries around their head, because in Deuteronomy it says, “Bind the law of God on your forehead and on your arm.” And so, they put the box on their head, and they tie the thing all around their head, and then they put it on their wrist, and then they tie it all around their arm, and then they drop a big shawl over their head. You ought to put a circle around it in your Bible and see if it is being applied in your life. He killed that tree with His word, “Tree, you’re dead from here on.”. Petition. You only want what God wills. If you just had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you’d say to the mountain, ‘Move from here to yonder place,’ and it would move, and nothing would be impossible. One comes to my mind in general, a rather massive one that we saw growing beside an old building in Caesarea on the sea – Mediterranean Sea. It’s not saying, “Well, you know, I’d like to have that, and if I have enough faith, I’ll get it.” No, no, no. Sure there’s a connection. What power. Thus, instead of merely cursing and killing a lowly fig tree, Jesus is saying that Judaism itself is cursed and will die off — “dry up at the roots,” as a later passage explains when the disciples see the tree the next day (in Matthew, the tree dies immediately). Jesus represented change that would affect their bottom line. The owner of the estate is God. And he told his people, “If you have the faith to do it and just claim it, it’s positive confession faith. Brian Donovan The Fig Tree Now, people, the cleansing of the temple and the cursing of the tree then, you see, is very dramatic, don’t you? The whole purpose of the temple had been distorted. Many have tried to explain this story to justify Jesus' actions. Coming to a fig tree in Israel isn’t that unusual. All rights reserved. So, how is he going to recover from that? The celebration of the Passover, a feast of obligation for every Jew was one of the most lucrative seasons of all. But it may have been that He had been praying. God preserves His people in an unblessed situation, and someday they’re going to enter into that blessing. In Psalm 2, the one who would have power over the nations, who would rule them with a rod of iron, the nations being placed under His feet. c. He stresses the need for true forgiveness and how forgiveness is the starting point of genuine faith, and answered prayers. Verse 18, “Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He was hungry.” Now, we’ll stop there for a moment. – you’re cursed. That is why Mark interjects his account of the cleansing of the temple between the cursing of the fig tree and the discovery of the withered tree the following day. They turned it into something that the Gentiles would have no use for. And He has a teaching that He wants to convey, and He does it in parabolic form. Calvin responds, "Forget it Mo. The Lord’s going to send on you cursing, vexation, rebuke” – and it goes on and on and on, clear to the end of the chapter; that’s verse 68. But they also had symbolic significance. So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. Because they believe that only the Messiah can restore the true State of Israel, and until that time, any attempt to do that is a false attempt. They are still not interested in the one who is the Son of Righteousness. Right? The Everliving Story: The Parable of the Budding Fig Tree (Dr. Jerry Harmon 12/06/20) - Sermon Videos This message was preached by Dr. Jerry Harmon at Grace Bible Baptist Church located at 1518 N. Rolling Road, Catonsville, Maryland 21228 (410-788-6132). “I took all the stones out” - removed all the enemies. We had the privilege of meeting the chief rabbi of all the holy places, the chief rabbi of the State of Israel, and the man who was minister of religious affairs. They’re still a cursed people. In other words, the Lord is saying if you believe in God enough to be persistent in your prayers, and to start out small and keep praying, and keep praying, and keep praying; let that faith strengthen, and strengthen, and strengthen, then God’s going to respond to that. So, the eternal God would be born a King, coming into the world to establish Himself as rightful ruler. Mark says the first morning He came in, found the tree, cursed it. As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. And for a fig tree to have leaves in April was very uncommon. You claim it; it’s yours.” And he claimed it, and it fell through. And it’s inconceivable to them that their own Messiah could come and condemn them. And then in one period of Israel’s history, they made a law that every man was taxed according to the number of trees he had on his land. They would have nothing to do with Him, and they said it, “We will not have this man to reign over us. That’s that ridiculous stuff that you hear being propagated today, “Well, if you have enough faith, you can have everything.”, I heard about a pastor yesterday who claimed a whole piece of property for his church. In Isaiah chapter 5, you have a similar kind of passage, where the Lord says, “I have planted a noble vine” – that’s the nation Israel – “and a very fruitful hill” – that’s the land of Canaan. Continue reading Jesus of Nazareth Meets Nathanael of the Fig Tree – A Sermon on John 1:43-51, Epiphany 2B. In a way, you could almost think of meeting under a fig-tree as the biblical equivalent of meeting at a Starbucks. But we need to stop at this point. With its focus on business, the temple supplied no fruit, did not nourish any hungry or thirsty soul with the gospel of peace-with-God and forgiveness of sins. With the breaking of the dawn, Jesus told His disciples to go find a particular animal that was tied in a nearby village by the name of Bethphage, to bring that animal, along with its mother. Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. Our faith is activated in petition. He moved up from Jericho to Jerusalem. There is the promise of a King coming, the one who would reign supreme. I get – I’m weary of a church without power. He came and sought fruit on it and found none. b. And Israel today is still under a curse from God. The Fig Tree The Fig Tree, of course, is not a literal tree, fig or otherwise. He uses water, birds, animals, weather, wineskins, trees, flowers. However, the nation as a whole has proved to be both lacking faith and barren of good fruitage. You know, that land has been denuded and stripped naked so many, many times, that they’re having a reforestation project now to put it back to what it used to be, but it was made naked by so many different conquerors who came in and built all their war machines out of the wood. As the fig tree was cursed, so was the nation of Israel, fit only to be cast into the fire. And so, if you see a tree with leaves, what should you expect? 1. And if my faith will grow, and grow, and persist, and persist, and persist, I’ll see the power of God. They don’t recognize the State of Israel; therefore they trade only in the American dollar; they won’t use Israeli currency. Their worship had become an exercise of hypocrisy. That’s essentially the message of Jesus as the King. And I’m committed in my own heart to a greater commitment to the life of prayer and less involvement in trying to think up better ways to do things. They’re under a curse: the curse that our Lord pronounced upon them, the curse that Isaiah pronounced upon them, the curse that’s pronounced upon them by God in Deuteronomy. “I built a moat around it, insulated it with a protective ceremonial system and social system. So, what you see here are two acts of kingly authority: the cleansing of the temple and the cursing of the tree. The context, the circumstances. The next frame has no words. 32, 33). c. Hypocrisy is one of the top ten objections that many people have against the Church. I preached this sermon at the First Congregational Church (UCC) of Lee, Massachusetts, on February 28, 2016 Michael K. Marsh January 16, 2012 January 16, 2012 Leave a comment. e. However, Paul and Jesus are not addressing hypocrisy in the Church. Picture Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes. © 2021 Grace to You. No, the gardener prunes it, and fertilizes it, and digs a ditch for good irrigation. Help Grace to You bring important resources like this to people in your community and beyond, free of charge. People would often walk by a fig tree and pluck off a fig and munch away as they strolled on. 20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. If Allah says we have peace with Israel, we have peace. So, instead of overthrowing their enemies, in a sense He denounces them. Right? The rulers were very angry with Jesus, and they plotted to kill him. This time He went directly to the temple. We’ll praise you in Christ’s name, amen. The Olivet Discourse: Learn the lesson of the fig tree. We sent you an email. Please contact the publisher to obtain copies of this resource. In other words, if I know that something is consistent with God’s mind, if I know it is consistent with His will, if I know it is consistent with His purpose, if I know it is consistent with His desire, then I believe that, and I can see that come to pass. It was the triumphal entry. Intro: We are walking with Jesus and His disciples through the last week of His earthly life. Jesus cursed the fig tree, and thus He denounces their nation as fruitless. b. because Jesus went against the status quo, and they feared His influence with the people. Several times they said, as we visited the Holocaust Museum, “And that’s what our enemies want to do to us again. Well, in their own way, they’re right. And may we obey what we do here and understand. Let’s look at the cursing of the tree. – a very large bush. Many camped outside. And all they’re waiting for, across those borders, is for Allah to say we’re to fight Israel.”. Israel was often symbolized by the fig tree throughout the OT such as in Hosea 9:10. Having faith is trusting in the revelation of God. Fig trees were everywhere in those days. The next frame has no words. Everybody’s on a constant state of alert. I don’t know if you know it, but in Jewish literature, a rooter up of mountains was a metaphor for a great spiritual leader. Well, it isn’t really connected with the lesson of the parable, but it’s connected with their response to the lesson. This whole section here, from 27 on, deals with whether or not Israel’s going to be blessed or cursed, whether they’re going to be in the land or out of the land. Why? Int he parable the owner give a grace period before judgment. It has a pretense of fruit, but no fruit. And we watched these people, their hands against the wall, doing this and sticking prayer requests in cracks. 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