12th June 2023
Read - Mark 11:12-21
Message Alan Burke
Looking back there are many times I deserved a clip round the ear, you ever thought that of your actions in the past? The times I was involved in wanton destruction I deserved more than a clip although some of those times were encouraged by my uncles. What happens when you see wanton destruction, someone smashed a few windows, some ejit cut the bark of a tree and now its dying, one of the wains covers themselves and the wall in Sudocrem (that stuff is a nightmare to get off). Well here Jesus is out on a wee stroll and curses a fig tree. It is a miracle has caused some to attack Jesus, scholars and individuals who see this as behaviour that is vindictive, ugly, that displays that Jesus was not perfect, he wasn’t a righteous man nor the son of God, for he destroyed this innocent fig tree, to many it is abhorrent, why would he do something like this! This is the only miracle of Jesus that is recorded that isn’t restorative.
Here as we pick up, it’s the next day after the not so triumphal entry for Mark and what we are told is that he was hungry, 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs”. This account is taking place in the month of March or April. If you can think back normally trees are only starting to bud but here we are told that this was a fig tree in leaf, and then when Jesus went to it he found nothing but leaves. That piece of information is key because it is making clear to us that the tree should have at least what are known as knops are what turns into the fig when ripened. When the fig tree has leaves it should have these knops. There are also some fig tress that bear their fruit much earlier even as early as the month of may and for a fig tree to be in leaf it would have been expected not only were there little knops but also figs, not fully ripe but covered in figs.
A fig tree covered in leaves should have had figs, it should have had fruit of some kind but it had none. The sign of the health of that fig tree, or an apple tree, or any kind of fruit tree is that it produces fruit. If you plant an orchard in the garden and you get no harvest from it then there is something wrong. Jesus curse the fig tree and it acted like an object lesson to the disciples, we all expect fruit to come from a fruit tree unless it is sick, unless it is dying, we expect fruit to be there, but there was no fruit of any kind on this tree. Jesus cursed this fruitless fig tree because while his people were to be a vineyard, a tree or a planting that bore fruit. They were to be like a tree planted by streams of water, that yielded its fruit in its season (Psalm 1), a lack of fruitfulness is a sign of God’s curse because his people had not obeyed him.
And you know it is a warning for all who profess faith, because the sign of our spiritual heal as individuals is that we bear fruit, we bear fruit for the Glory of our God. Are we bearing fruit, maybe you’ve been here for I don’t know, five, ten, maybe fifty years, what has been the fruit of that? I’m not expecting a list of converts stretch back through the decades, but think of Galatians the fruit of the spirit 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. (Ga 5:22–23).
Are our character in keeping with these things, can we look back and see how there has been a change in us over that time, or what about Hebrews 13, "15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Heb 13:15). Do our lips bear fruit, are we griping or praising, what is the attitude, the motivation?
Q70 Which is the seventh commandment?
The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Exod. 20:14)