Mark 11:12–14 (ESV)
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 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. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
He is yelling at a tree. He was hungry, and it wouldn’t give him food. Never mind it wasn’t fig season, when He needed it the most – this tree had failed Him, and He wasn’t having any of it. His emotions are running high, and people are starting to notice.
For the past few days, Jesus has been carrying the weight of what is coming on His own, while others seem clueless. His friends and followers are still riding high from the triumphant entry into Jerusalem, many expecting and believing that this is the culmination of Jesus’ ultimate plan. This will be the time that He begins to overthrow the governance of Rome. This will be the beginning of their end. He is finally stepping in to the fullness of His calling. God, through Jesus, is going to save His people from the tyranny and tortuous rule that has held them captive in their own land.
The timing couldn’t be better. It must be divine. Passover, the celebration of God’s saving the Jewish people from their exile in Egypt is this week, and many of His followers are excited to be in the Holy City, celebrating with their family and friends. This must be why He has waited until now, to show that God is still in business of saving His people. Everything is coming together. All will soon be right with the world, of this they are sure.
Mark 11:20–25 (ESV)
As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”
A teaching moment. That’s why He had yelled at the tree. An opportunity to show them about the power fo prayer. Now it makes sense. Now they understand. Now, they are starting to see the whole picture – or so they think.
Silently He wonders. Are they ready? For when He is gone. Will all that He has taught them keep them strong -or will they scatter? Has He done enough to prepare them? In just a few short days, reality will reveal itself – and there will be a different lesson to be learned – from a tree that only He can climb.