It may have been that He’d been in spiritual battle. They have a form of godliness. Oh, surely they would have. b. Sure there’s a connection. We saw several of them. Jesus of Nazareth Meets Nathanael of the Fig Tree – A Sermon on John 1:43-51, Epiphany 2B The collect and readings for the Second Sunday after Epiphany may be found here . Why let it cumber the ground?’. Jesus is the King, and the King does what the King wants to do because He’s the King. And when I see a problem that I can’t solve, instead of running up the street and trying to get the next best counselor that I can find in line to help the person, to take the person to prayer and let God do the things that He wants to do through His own power. Because when He came in on Tuesday, and when He came in on the morning of Wednesday – on both of those two days, there was a fig tree that came into play. Israel as the fig tree. c. So they turned the court of the Gentiles into a market place that served the purpose of selling sacrificial animals for temple use. And it’s little wonder that they reacted by hating Jesus Christ and wanting Him dead. Now, remember, as we approach this portion of Matthew 21. “How soon is the fig tree withered away,” they said. And they think they’ve found that, and they said it’s the holiest place in all of Israel. Mark says the first morning He came in, found the tree, cursed it. The parade began as He came in the eastern gate. No doubt around Him, a massive congregation of people who had been attracted to Him by His miracles and by His teaching throughout His ministry in Galilee, Perea, and in Jericho. It is faith in God as God is and God as God has revealed Himself to be. They stripped the woods bare. (For the theological significance of this “intercalation,” see Overview, 11:15–19.) iii. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In Isaiah chapter 5, you have a similar kind of passage, where the Lord says, “I have planted a noble vine” – that’s the nation Israel – “and a very fruitful hill” – that’s the land of Canaan. So the temple would sell them at a premium price because people needed them. That doesn’t matter to them at all. ii. The fig tree is given another chance, but it is not just left to produce fruit on its own. It was coronation day, at least His earthly coronation. Israel had proven unfruitful with respect to God's purpose for her. Then they came to Jerusalem. So, the eternal God would be born a King, coming into the world to establish Himself as rightful ruler. And while it is a national illustration in the parable, it certainly has individual implications. Jesus gave clear instructions to the early disciples. He's swinging on a swing in the school playground. After clicking 'Register', you will receive an email with a link to verify your account and to complete your registration. The context, the circumstances. I’m a King, but not the kind of king you’re used to.”. And it’s – they’re oblivious to what’s going on. Being reminded, Peter said to him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.” (Mark 11:20–22) Look again at the last four words in that passage. An unproductive fig tree in a vineyard is pretty much useless—unless you're like Nathaniel and want to use it only for shade (John 1:48 John 1:48 Nathanael said to him, From where know you me? And we can’t ask for stuff that’s out of His will, and how does He know if He wants to do it?” So forth and so on. But up on the hilltop, it just didn’t happen that in April fig trees bloomed and bore fruit. It is a metaphor representing something else. Jesus cleansed the temple, and thus He denounced their religion. When we left New York, we were on the plane with a whole lot of Orthodox Jews committed to Orthodox performance. He cursed it. b. The second morning they came in, they saw it withered. What a symbol of what was coming to Israel. c. Hypocrisy is one of the top ten objections that many people have against the Church. At a distance, Jesus sees a fig tree with leaves, and being hungry, He approaches it hoping to find some fruit, since a fig tree often produces figs earlier than it produces foliage. Someday they’re going to look on Him whom they’ve pierced and mourn for Him as an only son. b. Jesus would often accuse the religious leaders of hypocrisy. The first three verses of this section form the second part of the story of the fig tree (11:12–14), which sandwiches the account of the cleansing of the temple. He shows them that serving God is about faith, prayer, and forgiveness. That was something they must have learned from this, that it doesn’t do any good to profess to be religious if there’s no fruit. However, the nation as a whole has proved to be both lacking faith and barren of good fruitage. He has the scepter, and He wields it in these ways. ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. And so, the Lord came near because He was anticipating having His hunger met by this wayside tree. Mark 11:21. To repeat: Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. We stopped in Brussels, Belgium, and we got out into the airport, and they lined up a mass of them along the windows, and they began to do their genuflecting with the little boxes on their head and the phylacteries on their arms. a. That’s what they’re saying. f. There is a direct link between the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the Temple. Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree in its first season, I saw your fathers. He is coronated on one day. The Jews hoped that the Messiah would cleanse the temple of Gentiles, but Jesus cleansed the temple for the Gentiles. In 2 Samuel chapter 7, it is promised that David would have a greater son, a son who would be an eternal King. And this is a principle for the disciples. The Withered Fig Tree Sermon #2107 Tell someone today how much you love Jesus Christ. With all my heart I want that. This isn’t our kind of King.” He wasn’t like other kings. Deuteronomy chapter 28. The first principle, we could say, is the obvious truth that profession without reality is cursed. Israel was often symbolized by the fig tree throughout the OT such as in Hosea 9:10. Now, the Jews believed that their King would come and would be a military leader; would save the State of Israel, if you will, from Roman bondage; would bring about a prosperity that was promised in the Old Testament. Verse 18, “Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He was hungry.” Now, we’ll stop there for a moment. Mustard seed starts small, gets big. But let me just give you a little bit of a background so you’ll understand why He said this. Boy, when I see a verse like 22 of Matthew 21, “All things whatever you shall ask in prayer, believing you shall receive,” that’s a pretty dynamite promise, folks. The Parable of the Fig Tree Dan Rodgers Matthew 24:32-44 ILLUS: When my wife and I drive down to the Delta, instead to taking Highway 5 and turning off at Highway 4 to Rio Vista, we enjoy taking the river route. In the first place, it shouldn’t have even been there with leaves on it, because it was only April, and fig trees, though they bloom twice a year, the early fruit doesn’t come until May or June. In verse 6, the Lord here speaks a parable, “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. I can’t do that, but my job is to respond in faith and simple trust to the confident statement of verse 22, that if I ask in prayer, believing that God will do what He will do and is able to do what He says He will do, that I’ll see His power. Now, keep in mind that Jesus came as King. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. And it may have been now that that prayer time is over, as He walks back to the city, He, because of the difficult walk – I don’t mean impossible, but it’s downhill and uphill, and maybe He began to feel the hunger that He had ignored earlier – and He was hungry. Fig trees where the ‘Starbucks’ of the day. I mean genuine, redeemed, born-again Christians - not quote-unquote Christians because they have Orthodox heritage in the Greek Orthodox Church or whatever. Thus, instead of merely cursing and killing a lowly fig tree, Jesus is saying that Judaism itself is cursed and will die off — “dry up at the roots,” as a later passage explains when the disciples see the tree the next day (in Matthew, the tree dies immediately). Like this fig tree, the nation of Israel has a deceptive appearance. They were amazed. 2. A mustard seed’s a small seed that produces – what? Faith of a grain of mustard seed, that’s the smallest seed there is.”. Then, right after the teaching and application of the parable, He said, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels … He killed that tree with His word, “Tree, you’re dead from here on.”. The Fig Tree Parable. Because when He came in on Tuesday, and when He came in on the morning of Wednesday – on both of those two days, there was a fig tree that came into play. This is similar to John – to Matthew 17:20. But as we ask consistent with God’s revelation of Himself, consistent with the name of Jesus Christ and His purpose, consistent in an unselfish way to the glory of God, we can know we’ll receive it. All rights reserved. He laid the ax at the root of the tree, and He did it because there was nothing but leaves, nothing but leaves. So, we move from the predicament to the parable in verse 19. However, the Jews, who hated the Gentiles, hoped that the Messiah would one day come and cleanse the temple of all Gentiles and get rid of them once and for all. They would also exchange currency because the temple would only use one currency. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. And He got on that colt, the foal of an ass, and rode triumphantly into the city of Jerusalem before the hosannas of the people, the palm branches that were thrown in His way, the garments that were thrown down, upon which the animals walked. If Allah say we have a holy war, we have a holy war, we have a war.” So, they don’t know what Allah’s going to say. We went under the area of the western wall, which are the footings of Herod’s temple, the Herodian temple which stood in the time of our Lord. Because they believe that only the Messiah can restore the true State of Israel, and until that time, any attempt to do that is a false attempt. And today there aren’t surely nearly the fig trees there were once; they’ve had to be replanted. The Olivet Discourse: Learn the lesson of the fig tree. The celebration of the Passover, a feast of obligation for every Jew was one of the most lucrative seasons of all. a. Jesus teaches his disciples a lesson in what life looks like serving God. And he said to the dresser of his vineyard, ‘Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none.’” I don’t know, maybe that has something to say to connect up with the three years of our Lord’s ministry, calling for fruit from Israel. “When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, ‘How soon is the fig tree withered away!’” It died that fast. And instead of cleaning out the enemy, He cleaned out His own house. This still doesn't justify why jesus would get angry and curse the tree. Rooting up mountains became a metaphor for dealing with difficulty, dealing with impossible situations. And along with Him are the ubiquitous disciples, desperately in need of another profound lesson and about to receive one. Many people have been turned off of Christianity because they have watched the lives of those in the Church and saw that often they don't live what is preached. And it is still so. Maybe in Jericho they had already eaten of the figs, because everything blooms early in Jericho, the sun is so constant and so intense. then hear in heaven your dwelling place, and do according to all that the foreigner calls to you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and so that they may know that your name has been invoked on this house that I have built. I want God to be at work, and I know that the plan here is given very clearly if we ask in prayer, not doubting. And then from there, He goes right in and cleanses the temple. The keeper of the vineyard helped the tree by working the soil and adding fertilizer. Let’s call this the predicament. Not about rituals, judging and making money. The next day they came by, it was already dead. d. The sale of animals for sacrifice had become a lucrative source of revenue for the Sanhedrin. Mark tells us the first meeting with the fig tree was on the first day He came in to cleanse the temple. THE FRUITLESS FIG TREE. And maybe we’d be a greater help to each other if we spent more time in prayer than more time in giving advice. So, we turn a little corner as we come to verse 21, and let’s call this the principle. Right? Meanwhile, when the crowd gathered by the thousands, so that they trampled on one another, he began to speak first to his disciples, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, that is, their hypocrisy. So, He says to them, “Let me tell you something, men. And so, if you are living a lie, if you are masquerading as one who is religious, but there’s no fruit in your life, you’re damned; you’re cursed. Guest. So, when it says “if you have faith,” it doesn’t mean nebulous, “Well, I believe in believing. This article is also available and sold as a booklet. And that, my dear friends, is why they will be so ripe for the pact that they will make with the Antichrist, as Daniel 9 tells us, because they are still looking for the wrong thing. But if somebody stands up, like Khomeini or anybody else and says, “Allah says war with Israel,” then they know war will break out. Now, let me tell you what He means by this. Do you see the connection? As the fig tree was cursed, so was the nation of Israel, fit only to be cast into the fire. Mark 11:20 and 21 indicates the next morning, when they came by, it had died from the roots up. Powerful. a. And they are monumentally significant things. Mark, the author of the book, adds the comment that "it was not the season for figs" (). And then the second day, when He came back again, there was a second encounter with the fig tree. Now, Jesus, then, on Monday, when He rode in, listened to the accolades and the hosannas and accepted the coronation, fickle as it was. In Luke, there’s an interesting use of this same picture in the 13th chapter. God’s going to judge the religious. The fig tree showed the signs that it should have figs on it, yet it didn't. If you've ever driven that way, you will have noticed the many, huge fig trees along the roadside. Jesus has arrived in the city of Jerusalem. The Parable of the Fig Tree Mark 13:28-31; Luke 21:29-33 32. learn a parable of the fig tree] More accurately, learn from the fig-tree its parable, the lesson that the fig-tree teaches. I’m weary of people without power. We are going to be studying three more parables before we leave this series on … But they also had symbolic significance. And they would stand up at their prayer times, in the middle of the aisle in the plane, and they would wrap the phylacteries around their head, because in Deuteronomy it says, “Bind the law of God on your forehead and on your arm.” And so, they put the box on their head, and they tie the thing all around their head, and then they put it on their wrist, and then they tie it all around their arm, and then they drop a big shawl over their head. In fact there are some Orthodox Jews in Israel who do not recognize the State of Israel. Int he parable the owner give a grace period before judgment. A great teacher may do far more than destroy a tree, And so, the Lord did. “Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.”. Jesus answered and said to him, Before that Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you. 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Most graphic forms of prophetic communication in the year that you have this power 19... ” Paul says in Romans 10:2, if you see a tree with leaves, they!, His love and ultimately His judgment ubiquitous disciples, desperately in need of another profound lesson and about receive... State, but not the kind of King they looked for, and Lazarus does it in form. Peace with Israel, symbolized in the year, among other things, was a fruitless tree of! January 16, 2012 Leave a comment produced no fruit 20 feet high and... Whatever Allah says, `` get off the swing, Twinky., huge fig trees along the.. May I add it still isn ’ t matter to them that serving.! ; cursed shalt thou be in a cloud ' with power and glory! Think that God wants for you food for Him a profound illustration the siege Jerusalem. And again not being regathered redemptively or messianically and do that you examine your own heart in regard! Illustration of hypocrisy circle around it, and they are preserved, but Jesus cleansed the temple the! The owner give a grace period before judgment attacking Rome, He,! Feet wide, and it fell through behalf of each other and the richness that. To our time give you a little bit of a grain of mustard seed, that doesn ’ understand. And as you study the Old Testament, would like to put a circle around it, and 72! Talked about righteousness “ intercalation, ” they said it ’ s little wonder that reacted. Called you, when they came by, it just didn ’ t,... Trees can get 20 feet high, and it was dead. ” can make your life.
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