Friday, November 11, 2005

leaves w/o fruit

Leaves without Fruit
Mark 11.12 - .26
Matthew 21.12 - .22

In Mark 11.12 - .26 (also in Matthew 21.12 - .22) we find Jesus hungry and walking from Bethany towards the Temple in Jerusalem. He sees in the distance a fig tree with leaf. He approaches it to see if it has any figs and he finds none. This should have been no surprise to Jesus because it was not fig season. Instead of using his power over creation to make the tree produce figs he curses the tree so no one will ever eat figs from it again.

Why does he do this?

He is making a point by using a dramatic prophetic act. Prophets in the past have done this to make there points as well. What point is Jesus making? He is making one about the Temple! From a distance when one saw the Temple it looked like a place to worship and pray. Unfortunately when you get into the temple you discover it had become a market place. Like the fig tree the Temple is producing the leaves but has no fruit.

Jesus' dramatic prophetic actions don't end with the fig tree. When he enters the Temple he begins to throw people out! He over turns the tables and benches of the money changers and sellers of doves. He doesn't even let anyone carry merchandise thru the temple. Following the chaos he begins to teach the people who gather around. Part of his teaching is that the Temple was to be a place of prayer for all nations but it has become a den of robbers (Mark 11.17, Isaiah 56.7 & Jeremiah 7.11). His prophetic action against the fig tree and Temple become clear.
The fig tree represents the Temple. It is a place of prayer and worship, that is no longer producing fruit, in fact it has become corrupted. So what do you do with a fruit tree that produces no fruit?

You cut it down! What is the LORD going to do with the Temple that is no longer a house of prayer and worship? Destroy it! That is exactly what happens in the AD 70 at the hands of the Roman army.

This could easily happen to us! If you or I do not produce fruit as one of God's people we will be cut off. If the church is no longer a place of prayer, fellowship, worship and learning it will be treated like the Temple or the fig tree. It is a warning to us to be fruitful so
that we won't perish like the fig tree.
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