The Enigma Of The Fig Tree

This is the first day after Jesus' Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Jesus having spent the night in nearby Bethany, returns to Jerusalem in the morning (Mark 11:12). The Gospel records that Jesus was hungry and he saw a fig tree on the way but the tree only bore leaves but no fruit. Seeing this Jesus said within the hearing of His disciples, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever." (Mark 11:14) Later, when they passed the tree again, they found that the tree had withered away "dried up from the roots" (Mark 11:20). The tree had an appearance of wholeness rich with green leaves but did not bear fruit. The theme of bearing fruits - doing good works - is a recurring one throughout Scripture and it is one of the few where we see judgment pronounced over the failure to do so for example, branches that do not bear fruit are cut off the vine (John 15:2). If we were to examine our lives many of us who call ourselves Christ followers are in fact like "dry bones" (Ezekiel 37:4). We live but lack the essence of living. We have the appearance of wholeness but are in fact sick and barren. The leaves of a tree serves the purpose of drawing in the life giving energy of the sun to fuel it's growth. When a tree does not bear fruit but has an abundance of green leaves, all the energy is directed inwards to the roots, the trunks and branches and the making of even more leaves. The growth is inwards and internalized to the plant. When the same life-giving energy results in the bearing of fruit the growth becomes directed outwards. The fruits ripen and fall to the ground bring forth new trees. They provide sustenance to the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, and hungry passerby's. The fig tree also reminds me that we are to be salt and light sowing the gospel and being doers of good works (Matthew 5:16, Ephesians 2:10, 2 Timothy 3:17, Titus 3:8 and 14, Hebrews 10:24, and 1 Peter 2:12 just to name a few). More amazing and puzzling is that Mark clearly records that the fig tree did not bear fruit because it was not the season for figs. Mark 11:13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.. Was Jesus being unreasonable? What could this mean? Is Jesus telling us that God expects us to bear fruit in season and out of season? Yet whenever we exhort others to good works we will invariably be reminded that salvation is by grace not works as if the doing of good work somehow invalidates our salvation. Others will say that it is not their calling or leading. Moreover, some will accuse us of guilt-tripping others. Here is the crux of the matter. Salvation is indeed by grace and good works are what we are purposed by God to do ... Eph 2:8-10 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. We really need to know that they are two very different but very necessary things. Second, we are so prone these days to think of ministry and service as strictly a matter of calling and leading but is this true? Are all the commands and exhortation of Scripture a matter of calling or leading? Are they not in fact a matter of obedience? In our time, it seems we have taken a post modern approach to the Gospel where even commandments and exhortations are all a matter of choice! No? Isn't making those things to which all Christians are required to do a matter of calling or leading in fact a thinly disguised "religious" means of picking and choosing? Do we need to be called to feel compassion and act on it? Is loving the lost a matter of calling? Is feeding the poor, giving water to the thirsty, taking in the stranger, visiting the sick, lonely, and imprisoned a matter of calling? Third, guilt trips are only perceived and work if there is guilt to begin with. Deep down all of us know and even acknowledge that as Christ Followers we are to serve a broken world, could it be that it is the failure to do so that accuses us? Is that why when we are reminded of Good works we see them as guilt trips? I share these to cause us to reflect and think in the hopes that it will convict ... it is one of the most important function of Scripture ... especially on Holy Week. Blessings Arisen

Kenneth Figurelli @bibleguy64 ·

Good blog. Eph 2:8-10 says it all very clearly. I don't understand why there is so much faith vs works debate. As for the figs, that is indeed a puzzle. Keep blogging. - bibleguy

Do not include honorifics.

Support ChristianBlog.Com

ChristianBlog.Com is a Christian ministry that requires financial support, just like any other Christian ministry.

If you have found this blog to be something that has touched you, we invite you to financially support our ministry with a one-time donation!

Recent Blogs By Christopher Quek

© ChristianBlog.Com 2019 Global Policies