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The Fig Tree and the Temple

March 25, 2013

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.

Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

Mark 11:12-21 (NIV)

Jesus, sometimes you mystify me. Were you just having a bad Monday? Did you wake up with a headache? Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed? I have days like that when I am out of sorts, nothing goes right, and I am mad at the world. Was that the problem or is there something deeper?

Maybe the poor fig tree that couldn’t possibly bear fruit out of season and the money changers doing business as usual had something in common. Maybe it is the prophetic connection that compares Israel with fig tree and the misappropriation of the temple that raises your dander. Maybe these two events are best understood in light of your teaching later in the week.

“If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit, but apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Christ, you have called us to be your temple. Make us people of prayer. Only through abiding prayer can we be fruit bearing disciples.

Gracious Lord, on this holy Monday, teach us this truth.


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