The Fig Tree & Cleansing the Temple
Read: Jesus Curses the Fig Tree (Matthew 21:18-22 or Mark 11:12-14 AND Jesus Cleanses the Temple (Luke 19:45–46 or Mark 11:15-17)
It’s Monday. After a late evening investigating the Temple, Jesus retreated to Bethany on Sunday evening.
On Monday, he left for the temple and along the way ran into a fully leaved fig tree. But the fig tree bore no fruit. He looked at the tree and cursed it, saying, “Never again shall you bear fruit!” (Matthew 21:18-22)
What was this about? Why was Jesus so upset over a single fig tree?
Israel’s purpose was to be a blessing to all families on earth (Genesis 12:3) by revealing God and how to be in a relationship with God. They were called to be His ambassadors so that the world might know the true God. Their role was to point people to God. And yet, the leaders of Israel created barriers between God and the people. This is why Jesus chased out the money changers and those selling sacrificial animals–they were extorting the people. They were the predatory lenders of their day. The ones who made their money by taking advantage of the power and authority they assumed.
They had the appearance of God’s people (a fig tree with leaves) but did not bear the fruit of BEING God’s people (a fig tree bearing figs).
Jesus would look at the tree and remove the responsibility of making fruit. He also withdrew the responsibility of revealing God from the religious leaders of the Jews and gave it to the apostles, the leaders of His disciples. Look at Matthew 28.
19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The one who had “all authority under heaven and earth” removed the wicked tenants and gave the Kingdom work to the church. It is now the role of the followers of Jesus Christ to point people toward God.
How is that going for you?
Do you reflect God’s character, allowing people to know Him better because they know you?
Or are you creating barriers between those who don’t know and God?
Are you bearing fruit?
“God. Please give us the grace to live the lives you have given us in a way that others would see and know YOU by seeing and knowing us. Increase while we decrease. Amen.”