The Lesson of the Fig Tree

A reading for Monday, April 14, 2014: Mark 11:12-25.

Sometimes we forget that the gospel accounts of Jesus were written in a particular time for a particular people. While we are certainly a primary audience for the story, we are not the primary audience. Many people of faith that have come before us also were the intended readers.

Today's account of Jesus cursing the fig tree is most certainly meant for us, but also meant for those living in the first century who were dealing with the temple controversy. Early believers in Jesus were struggling to understand whether or not they could remain as part of the temple, or needed to find other ways to practice faith. Perhaps Mark's account of Jesus cursing of the fig tree for not bearing fruit was an image those early worshipers would identify with comparing the tree to the temple. They would see that just as the fig tree was not in "season," Jesus' purging the money changers from the temple makes the message abundantly clear. The temple for those following Jesus would not bear fruit. Jesus' message for them through Mark was to offer forgiveness and then move on...

Are there parts of our lives that are the same? Are there places no longer in season and no longer bearing fruit for the kingdom? Are there things we say and do that seem only to whither and die, rather than give life and blessing? Consider the lesson of the "fig tree" and whether or not it's time for you to move on. Offer forgiveness and move on...

The good news is that perhaps there is something better, beyond our imagination and even the bounds of our hope, that might be waiting for us as those that follow Christ. Those early worshippers of Jesus could never have imagined the blessings of the church you and I enjoy today. The gospel of Jesus Christ continues to bear fruit. Thanks be to God.


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