We are now looking at the week before Christ’s death on the cross as recorded by Mark. Jesus is in the area of Jerusalem and a lot is going on. He spends the evenings in Bethany where some friends live.
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Right after His triumphal entry into the city, the Lord goes to the Temple area and looks around. I don’t think it was just a casual observing. He was listening to the Father’s voice instructing Him what He was to do next.
Jesus must have been grieved by what He saw going on in the Temple. As the feast of Passover was approaching, Jerusalem was the center of all the activity in Israel. People were coming in from all over the world to worship here.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 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. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
This is one of those events in the life of Christ that many people ask about. They don’t understand what’s happening or why Jesus cursed the tree.
Let’s work our way through it. Jesus was in Jerusalem, watching the outward, lifeless trappings of religious people. They were going through the motions, not because they were worshipping God, but because they were following the rules.
Jesus probably spent the next morning in prayer, as was His custom. He heard the Father’s heart, breaking over the condition of His people.
As He and His disciple start heading back to the city, they’re hungry and ready for some breakfast. Seeing a fig tree off in the distance, they’re checking to see if it has any fruit. After all, it has plenty of leaves.
There’s one slight problem. The Bible tells us that it’s not the season for figs. Why would Jesus be upset at the tree if that’s the case?
This whole incident was a life-lesson for the disciples. In many places in Scripture, Israel is likened to a fig tree. Messiah had arrived on the scene. It was the time for them to be producing fruit for the kingdom of God.
Instead, all Jesus saw was empty religion. Everything was just for show. A lot of leaves, but no fruit.
Many in Israel were starving, spiritually. Yet those who were in leadership did nothing to fill the longing of their souls. The priests of Israel were mostly just feeding their own egos.
What about us? How do we apply this to our lives? We need to hear the exhortation the Paul gave to Timothy.
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.
2 Timothy 4:2
It doesn’t matter what season you’re in. The time to produce fruit is when there’s a need. That’s why we must always prepare.
Prayer, meditation on the Word, and intimate times with the Lord make us ready to produce kingdom fruit. Don’t follow empty religion – all leaves and no fruit. Time in the Lord’s presence prepares us for blessing others, whether we feel like it or not.
Question: When was a time that you produced fruit “out of season”?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi