Short Devotional of Mark 11:12-14 & 20-25 - With the Parallel Passage of Matthew 21:18-22
- With the Parallel Passage of Matthew 21:18-22
“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.…..
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
- On the eastern side of the Mount of Olives, fig trees could already have leaves at Passover season (late March or early April). They did not yet, however, have ripe figs typically; they had only green early figs, which did not taste good. They could ripen in June, but often fell off beforehand, so that only leaves remained. If a tree had leaves but produced no early figs, it would remain fruitless that year. it was not the season for figs. Fig Tree fruit produces not long after the leaves come out in spring, and depending on where the plant is located and the soil, it can happen early.
· Oleification - An ancient, but little-known practice can provide a simple way to ripen figs 30 days or more before their normal ripening date. This practice, we know was in use as early as the third century B.C., is known as "oleification" and consists of applying one of a variety of oils to the eye of the fig fruit at a time when it will respond by ripening at a greatly accelerated rate.
Sometimes, figs will produce riper fruit earlier than usual, not long after they produce leaves. If a tree had leaves but produced no early figs, it would remain fruitless that year.
Verses 12-14 embody the humanity and divinity of Jesus well. Jesus was hungry (Humanity) and hoped to find something on the tree that was palatable. When there wasn’t anything to satisfy His hunger, He cursed the tree (Divinity).
Verses 20-25 applies the lesson for the Disciples and for us. Peter’s astonishment at the withered fig tree prompts a response from Jesus. The text in Matthew said:
“when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!” Matthew 21:20
Jesus responds by saying:
“Have faith in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.”
This mountain - The Mount of Olives was between Bethel and Jerusalem, and was an obstacle to climb while travelling on the road.
Fruitless Distractions and Obstacles – The Fig tree was a fruitless distraction and the mountain was a fruitless obstacle that distracted them from their purpose. Paul said in Ephesians 5:1-13
“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”
Obstacles to doing God’s will – doubt (Matthew 21:21), unforgiveness (vs. 25), fear, worry, anger, lust, greed, laziness, not living with your wife in an understanding way:
“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.” 1 Peter 3:7 ESV
As children of the Kingdom of God we are charged with the responsibility of representing our Lord while on earth and doing His mission, which is to spread the Gospel and build up the Saints. We are to avoid the faithless and fruitless works of disobedience.
Prayer – Whatever things you desire when you pray, that is whatever is according to the revealed will of God (The confirmation of the Gospel, and the glory of His name).
Believe – Jesus said to “have faith in God,” and in Matthew’s account he said “do not doubt.” In other manuscripts of the text in Mark, it is translated “have the faith of God.” We need to make use of that faith that has God as its author and object. We should have faith enough to pray that God will move whatever fruitless obstacle is hindering us from doing His will. Be about the mission.