The Disappointing Fig Tree
Scripture Reading — Mark 11:12-14, 20-25
Peter ... said ... "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!" Mark 11:21 —
As Jesus and his disciples walked along toward Jerusalem, they came across an unexpected surprise: a fig tree in full leaf. This was a surprise because it was too early in the year for figs. But where there was a fig tree in leaf, you could expect figs. So Jesus and the disciples went over to the tree to see if it had any fruit. It had none. What seemed at first to be a remarkable tree turned out to be a disappointment. So Jesus said to the tree: "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And he walked away.
The next day, as they left Jerusalem and passed by the same tree, the disciples were astonished to find the tree totally withered.
When Peter expressed his surprise about the tree, Jesus used the opportunity to teach two lessons. The first lesson was about failure. The empty tree serves as a warning that we cannot pretend to be spiritually alive, for we won't bear any fruit.
The second lesson is about faith. Jesus says, "Have faith in God." We are to trust in him for all the life and strength we need in order to serve him. When we are rooted in Jesus through sincere prayer, our faith will bear fruit. Our faith in Christ will be strong enough to help move people to believe in Jesus and enter his kingdom. Through his strength in us, we'll show he's alive!
Lord, help us to have strong faith in you. Fill our lives with the kind of fruit that brings honor to you and blesses the people around us. In your name we pray. Amen.