The Withered Fig Tree

Yesterday we briefly mentioned Mark 11:12-14 as Jesus curses the Fig tree. I want to talk about that today Tuesday the 13th of Nisan when the disciples asked how the fig tree withered so quickly. Mark 11:20-26

But before we move on to the withered fig tree it’s important not to leave out Mark 11:18 as The chief priests and the scribes heard this, (Jesus’ Cleansing of the temple) and began seeking how to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, for the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching. (Emphasis mine)

Why did the chief priest and scribes want to destroy Him. Destroy ἀπόλλυμι (apollumi) is a very strong Greek word, means to put out of existence, to fully parish. They wanted Him dead. Why? The crowd was astonished (ἐκπλήσσω ekplēssō) at His (Jesus’) teaching. Literally the crowd saw that Jesus’ teaching was different and they were overwhelmed and amazed.

Now to our highlighted event as Jesus curses the Fig tree. On Tuesday the 13th of Nisan they see it withered. First let’s talk about why Jesus cursed it.

On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. 13 Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. Mark 11:12-14

Though Mark says it wasn’t the season for figs, there should have been early buds on it for the fact it had leaves already. This fig tree showed promise from afar. It was very impressive to look at, but lacked fruit. Jesus never missing an opportunity to teach says “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” Why did Jesus curse this tree, He was using it as an object lesson for His disciples. This was barren Israel, especially the so called leaders of Israel. The scribes and pharisees, who were fruitless and full of spiritual hypocrisy. Hosea 9:10.

In Mark 7:6 we read And He said to them, “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.

“Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

In the gospel of Matthew the miracle is instantaneous, but in Mark they notice the withered tree the next day, either way it looked like a healthy tree but after Jesus’ words it was dead.

Let’s look how Matthew describes it.

Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. 20 Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” 21 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 “And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:19-22

This is great! Jesus changes it up here and instead of talking more about the fig tree, He moves on from it to talk about great faith and God’s great power!.

Here is what we do know! It is an impossible task for anyone other that God to say to the Mount of Olives plunge 4000 feet into the Dead Sea.

So what does Jesus mean?

What this speaks of is great faith and prayer.

In prayer, in agreement with God, all things are possible. Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26. In Mark 9:23. Jesus said to him, “ ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.

Any task we ask in prayer, no matter what it is,
if it harmonizes with the will of God, it is possible!

Faith is a great gift from God!
Never lose hope!


…and that’s a beautiful thing!

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