65. The fig tree withered by Jesus
NOW on the morrow in the morning, when they were come from Bethany, as Jesus returned into the city, he was hungry: and seeing afar off a fig tree having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon. He found nothing but leaves, for the time of the figs was not yet. And he said,
Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward. No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.
Presently the fig tree withered away. The disciples saw it, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered,
Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say to this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
¶They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought therein, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying,
My house is the house of prayer. Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
The scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Jesus: for they feared him, because all the people were attentive to hear him.
When even was come, he went out of the city. In the morning, as they came by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Jesus, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away. Jesus answering saith,
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 receive 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.
Scripture: Mark 11: 11-26
Meditation 1 of 1:
Why did Jesus curse a fig tree? Fig trees were a common and important source of food for the Jews. Bad figs or a decaying fig tree was linked with evil deeds and spiritual decay. The unfruitful fig tree symbolized the outcome of Israel’s unresponsiveness to the word of God. The prophets depicted the languishing fig tree as signifying the desolation and calamity of Israel due to her unfaithfulness to God (see Joel 1:7,12; Habakuk 3:17; and Jeremiah 8:13). The history of Israel is one long preparation for the coming of the Promised One. But the promise is unfulfilled in those who reject Jesus through unbelief. (See also Jesus’ parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13:6-9). Jesus’ cursing of a fig tree is a prophetic action against the faithlessness of those who rejected his message. For faith to be fruitful and productive, it must be nourished with the word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; Col. 3:16)and be rooted in love (Galatians 5:6).
Jesus’ cleansing of the temple was another prophetic action. In this incident we see Jesus’ startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right– in the house of the Lord no less! Their robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor. In justification for his audacious action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (56:7) and Jeremiah (7:11). His act of judgment aims to purify the worship of God’s people and to discipline their erring ways.
After this incident Jesus exhorts his disciples to “have faith in God”. They are to pray with expectant faith no matter how difficult the situation may be. The phrase “to remove mountains” was a common Jewish expression for removing difficulties. A wise teacher who could solve difficulties was called a “mountain remover”. If we pray with faith God will give us the means to overcome difficulties and obstacles. If we want God to hear our prayers we must forgive those who wrong us as God has forgiven us. Do you pray with expectant faith?
“Lord increase my faith and make my fruitful and effective in serving you. Help me to forgive others just as you have been merciful towards me”