Well…we seemed to have pretty good participation last week with our approach to studying the Gospel of Mark. No reason to quit doing this now! It is odd to me that there is such a distinct difference between the first and second service we have at Eastgate. While the first service seems very animated and willing to interact…second service is so much more reserved. Why do you suppose that is?
Anyway…this Sunday we’ll be reading Mark 11:12-24. Again, take some time to read it if you can, and in several different translations.
In our story, Jesus has entered Jerusalem to a certain amount of fanfare, but left the city that evening and stayed in Bethany. What we’ll read about are the next day’s events.
Jesus will do two curious things. First, He passes a fig tree when He’s hungry, but is disappointed to find only foliage, and no fruit. So He curses the fig tree. Doesn’t that seem harsh? The text tells us that its not fig season, yet Jesus curses it because it doesn’t have fruit on it. Maybe the fake Christians with the signs have it wrong by one vowel…maybe it’s supposed to be “God Hates Figs”?
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, Fig trees of that region have an early fruit and a later fruit. The early fruit was considered a delicacy, and it must have been the leaves that were showing on the tree gave a false indication that the early fruit would be there. If you read the article I linked to, you’ll notice an ominous portent was often associated with the destruciton of a fig tree in Jewish tradition.
When Jesus goes to the temple, his actions there start to shed some light on what this cursing of the fig tree was all about. What do you think the cursing of the fig tree has in connection with the money changers in the temple?
When we consider the implications of the barren fig tree, we have to start looking to ourselves, and wonder: how important is outward appearance to me? In this story, the leaves were on display for all to see, but what was being sought out was fruit. Who was seeking it? What words were used to describe why there was a search for fruit? Do those details speak anything to us?
God’s values are on display in these verses. What does NOT appear to be important to Him? What DOES?
Anyway…that’s some stuff to chew on…what other observations can be made?