This sermon was based on Mark 11:12-25.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
12On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
15And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. 19And when evening came they went out of the city.
The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree
20As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” 22And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. 23Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
The Fig Tree
- The fig tree is a metaphor, a picture used in the Old Testament for the nation of Israel.
- Jesus looks at the fig tree and sees from a distance something healthy which should be bearing fruit. He looks at the Jewish religious leaders and sees the outward signs of health which should be bearing fruit. In both cases he is disappointed.
- Israel cannot fulfil the Old Testament prophecies and promises. Only Jesus can do this.
- The part of the Temple in which this story unfolds is the only part of the temple where the Gentiles, non Jews, ‘The Nations’ could come and worship God and be brought into his blessings.
- God had promised to Abraham that through his offspring all the nations would be blessed. This promise is fulfilled through Jesus.
- This is a pivot point in the book of Mark because, although we have seen the Jewish religious leaders opposed to Jesus, we now see them plotting to kill him. From this point on we are only headed to the cross – the very thing which fulfils the Old Testament promises!
- Jesus says ‘have faith in God’ – Mark is reminding us again of the need for a bold faith which requires us to step out.
- Jesus is talking to the Disciples who he has been and will be sending out to spread the good news, heal the sick and cast out demons. He is reminding them of the authority they carry.
- Because we are now the children of God we now have this mountain moving authority. how big is our picture of God? How bold our faith?