The Barren Fig Tree

(Mark 11:11-14)

The teaching about the barren fig tree is an interesting one. Each time I look at it I find things that are more and more interesting in it.

The first time I read this section of scripture I thought the Lord was being harsh and vindictive. He basically cursed the fig tree so that it would die and never produce fruit again. To all intents that seems a very harsh thing to do, but there are lessons we can learn from this when we understand what the Lord is showing us.

barren-fig-treeFirst we should understand that the Lord expected there to be fruit on this tree and there was none. This can be likened to Christians who have been with the Lord some time. After a period of time, typically years, the Lord could expect Christians to bear fruit. The fruit of the Spirit should begin to flourish in the lives of those who profess Christ as Saviour and there would be a natural expectation that a Christian should mature and grow as they walk with Christ. I covered this aspect of this scripture in some detail when I looked at it in Matthew 21:18-22

But there are other messages in this scripture too.

This tree was supposed to provide something of value. It had a utilty and purpose. It was supposed to have fruit. When it did not have fruit it became worthless and was of no value. If it is of no value, then is it wrong or harsh to destroy the tree? Is it harsh to curse it and have it wither when it has no use? No it is not. Ask any farmer what they do with crops or trees that do not produce what they are supposed to. Ask them what they do with stock and animals that have lost their value. They do not save them for “old times sake.” No, they are removed and replaced with stock that will provide a benefit.

This tree was no different. It was of no benefit so the natural course of things would be to remove it and replace it with something that will provide benefit. The benefit the fig tree gives us is the lesson of growth, amturity and utility.

Furthermore we see that Jesus was no “tree-hugger.” He had no qualms about destroying a tree that was of no use. He certainly did not put it up as being anything special or of any importance other than in its ability to provide food. When it did not or could not do that, it was removed.

Not that I am suggesting the wholesale destruction of the earth’s resources is a good thing. Far from it. But I am saying things need to be put into perspective. It is wrong to swing too far either left or right on any matter, including conservation and those things held dear by the green movements around the world. When the earths resources are destroyed purely for the sake of gain, it is wrong. But likewise when emphasis is put on saving resources to the exclusion of the needs of people, that too is wrong. The challenge is in finding the balance between these two extremes. But I am straying from the essence of the scripture now.

Jesus followed this message later, which I will cover in the next one or two posts about the need to have faith and the power of faith. We can do anything if we have faith. There is tremendous power in faith, and indeed without it nothing can be achieved. Nothing would even be atempted if we did not have faith. Who would commence anything if they did not ahve a grain of faith that it could be done?

We will come to that in mor detail soon. For this section though, there are messages of faith, and the need to grow in the Lord to produce fruit. If we do not produce the fruit of Christ, then we need to beware lest we are uprooted like this fig tree and cast away from the Lord. It is a sobering thought and warning to all Christians.

(Photo sourced from stock.xchng http://www.sxc.hu/)

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2 Replies to “The Barren Fig Tree”

  1. Wandering a little through your recommended posts…. :)

    This is a good lesson for us to remember. We were put here for a purpose and that purpose is to glorify our Father–it is the very same purpose Jesus lived, too. I am working on memorizing the Sermon on the Mount, part of which talks about the salt and light. Essentially, what good is a hidden light or unsalty salt?

    God has given us so many promises. “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” No excuses, for sure!

    May He faithfully continue the work He has started in us, and glorify His name in the earth!

    Blessings.

    ~Sheila :)

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