136. Fig tree with no fruit is cursed- Matt. 21:18-22, Mark 11:12-14; 19-24
-The fig tree, which is cursed, represents the unbelieving Israel that rejected her King. Even though they had an appearance of life and the potential to bear fruit, they had not produced the faith that was required to grow the Kingdom of God. Therefore, they would dry up and become unproductive in the economy of God during this time period by Jesus’ prophetic act. Mark’s gospel gives us a clearer picture of the time line of the cursing compared to the drying up of the fig tree. The act occurs, then Jesus goes into Jerusalem and drives out those who were buying and selling in the Temple overturning tables of the money changers (Mark 11:15). The “and at once the fig tree withered” that Matthew gives us in the text is relative (Matthew 21:19b). It was considered immediate because it was full of life in the time of Jesus’ hunger as they journeyed towards Jerusalem, but by the next morning, it was dried up (Mark 11:20).
-The disciples, led by the voice of Peter, were amazed at the miracle of the dried fig tree, and Jesus took the opportunity to once again teach them about faith and its power. His conclusion is that “all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you (Mark 11:24, Matthew 21:22).” *Application* What Jesus is talking about here is mountain moving faith that gets the response of Heaven. Notice that there is absolutely no room for doubting here. The man who doubts is like a ship tossed on the ocean and is double minded and unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8). The lack of faith cost the children of Israel their righteous King for the time being. Don’t let unbelief rob you of all that God in store for you. You will bear much fruit if you abide in Him, which only comes through trusting Him (John 15:1-8, especially verse 7).
Verse to Memorize- Mark 11:24
137. Second cleansing of the Temple- Matt. 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48
-Jesus is fed up with the abuse of the House of God. The money changers were profiting from the exchange rate and had impure hearts towards the worship of the Living God. Jesus sets the record straight by declaring His House as a House of Prayer for all the nations and that they had made it a den of robbers (Isaiah 56:7, Jeremiah 7:11). He overturned their tables in righteous indignation creating a powerful scene of the Lord’s fury over this matter. This drew the irritation of the religious leaders and they sought to destroy Him, but the people were hanging on every word that proceeded from His mouth and were astonished. His time was near, but it had not fully come and the chief priests and scribes were unable to find anything that they might do (Luke 19:48). Jesus was passing the test of perfection. *Application* This incident should be a warning to us in how we approach coming into the house of God at church. God’s house is to be a place where we gather in reverence and fear of His majesty with awe struck wonder and appreciation. It is a holy place of communication with Him on the vertical level and communication with other believers and guests on the horizontal level. It truly should be a place of prayer for all the nations to come and experience the glory and the power of the Almighty. Don’t minimize the importance of proper heart attitude every time you approach the house of God. Careless worship, as we see here, infuriates our Lord for good reason.
Verse to Memorize- Mark 11:17