BIBLE READING: Mark 11
The headings most bibles start Mark 11 with, is the title “The Triumphal Entry” or something very close. Jesus was walking from Bethany, toward Jerusalem, which would end with him being nailed to the cross and dying. No doubt Jesus had a lot on his mind as he was walking with the disciples. One thing on his mind was food. Jesus was hungry. Naturally, he looked where anybody from that area would have looked, a fig tree. A fig tree in this region begins to have early or smaller figs that grow from the previous year’s sprout. These early figs would typically appear at about the same time or even before the new year’s leaves. These smaller figs were known to supply the poor and hungry with quick sustenance as they traveled about. The large figs wouldn’t have been found until later in the year, around August. The setting here in chapter 11 would be late March or early April near the Passover. Are you seeing the connection yet? Jesus was expecting this tree to have those early, smaller figs, meant for pilgrims such as he. In verse 14, Jesus curses the tree because there was no fruit on it. I, like many athletes, enjoy a little trash talk, but Jesus goes to a level never seen before when he trash talks a plant. All joking aside, we understand the power Jesus has and we see later in the chapter that the tree has withered and ultimately is finished.
Later, Jesus goes into the temple and is infuriated by the sights, sounds, and smells he encounters. The temple was supposed to be the place where people would go to meet God. Their greatest needs could be fulfilled by having fellowship with Him. From a distance, the temple, like the tree, probably looked as it should. The tree had leaves, but where was the fruit? The temple looked holy from a distance, but just like the tree, it was barren and fruitless. We can make many connections and applications from a lesson like this. “You can’t judge a tree by its leaves” or some other snappy title, but it was sadly obvious that the chief priests, scribes, and elders had missed the obvious. Jesus was(is) the Messiah. Jesus was(is) the Son of God. Let’s make sure we understand, respect, and honor His authority.