Luke 21:31says when you see all these things happening (in the tribulation), know that the kingdom of God is near. We can see that this elaborate buying and selling and money-changing operation is a scam to make money off poor worshipers who only want to meet with God—much like the prosperity gospel preachers of our day. “The chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him.”. It's coming back to life, meaning that the tree is being revived. Look again, beginning with verse 22. It’s the fulfillment of the prophecy of Malachi 3:1-2. And there was a curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, representing the distance between the Holy God and sinful man. The only thing keeping some us from him right now is our prideful religiosity, our false conception of ourselves, our self-righteousness. And like Adam and Eve after the fall, this fig tree, though full in leaf, was useful only to cover nakedness. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. He is the sacrifice to grant forgiveness. And so died the promises to the Jewish people. He overturns what doesn’t belong. He will come to you not with cursing but with blessing. In the temple, there was no direct access to God for everyone. b. A. THE WITHERED FIG TREE—A LESSON ABOUT FAITH JESUS’ AUTHORITY IS CHALLENGED Leaving Jerusalem on Monday afternoon, Jesus returns to Bethany on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives. How open the kingdom is? He is the meeting place. First, we explore The Summary, Meaning & Moral Lesson of the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree ~ How it applies to our lives today. The Old Testament said this would happen (Isaiah 34:4, Joel 1:7-12, Amos 4:9). Why curse it? Christ’s curse is a foreshadowing of what will happen to hypocrites — those Israelites who, like the fig trees with leaves, promise fruit but fail to deliver. And you don’t even have to deserve it. 34 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. And since we’re already talking about food, this passage comes at us like f a sandwich in three parts: fig tree/temple/fig tree. There were four layers, each one a step closer to God. A few years ago, our youngest son hungry for pears went to the bowl every time he saw it, picked one up, and bit in. But we can give that up. Sunday, Nov. 18, is the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Last week, we saw from Mark 11:1-11 the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. As a result, Jesus cursed the fig This can happen inside a church too. God brought revival. Nothing like this ever does. The vineyard owner represents God, the one who rightly expects to see fruit on His tree and who justly decides to destroy it when He finds none. In the parable, the master had passed by the barren tree for three years before he said anything about it. Every year, we take a trip to Kansas City to visit our best friends. The Jews could enter the next level. That’s why Jesus says in verse 17, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But they came straight from the beach, without shoes and without shirts. So when they passed by the fig tree again and it had withered away to its roots. Is it too much to ask of people to wear shoes to church? By his death that day on the cross, Jesus brought a robber to heaven. These new God-seekers walked into the church building with oil on their feet and it got all over the carpet. We have a hunger for true worship, but a dead tree doesn’t bear fruit. What an important lesson for all of Jesus’ followers! He likely spends the night at the home of his friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha. Isaiah 56 is about the nations coming to God. But if they leave the church because we make it hard for them to worship God, that’s between God and us. Jesus replaced the temple as the object of faith in God. He is the worship center. He poured out his Spirit. Then, he was willing to wait another year while the vineyard keeper fertilized the tree before exercising final judgment on the tree. But we need reality with Jesus, not the appearance of reality with him. There’s a great example of this from the 1960s. Look at verse 18. As a result, the temple was dead and worthless. And from his purity, he makes us clean. On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. Well, no, but it’s also not necessary. We will have to let Jesus rule in our church. Figs are used to describe fruitfulness from the land coming from the Lord’s blessing, provision and abundance … Continue reading "The Lesson of the Fig Tree" Bishop-designate Michael Fisher will officially take the reins of the scandal-plagued diocese Jan. 15. When you come to God, you don’t get everything you deserve. The cursing of the fig tree is an incident in the gospels, presented in Mark and Matthew as a miracle in connection with the entry into Jerusalem, and in Luke as a parable. Claire Dwyer blogs about saints, spirituality and the sacred every day at EventheSparrow.com and contributes regularly to WomenofGrace.com. Hollow religion is actually hard to spot, especially when the focus is turned on ourselves. We also proclaim the Gospel in word and deed, making the message of Christ irresistible by our joyful witness. Jesus wants his disciples to see this. Why did God do that? He cleans things out. The temple in Jerusalem was much the same. All of these signs of the times should give us a certain sense of urgency. User’s Guide to Sunday, Dec. 20, the Fourth Sunday of Advent, User’s Guide to Sunday, Dec. 13, the Third Sunday of Advent, BOOK PICK: ‘Wisdom of the Heart: The Good, the True and the Beautiful at the Center of Us All’. We pray and fast for these conversions and also for the Church as a whole, for “before Christ’s second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675). I wonder if you remember a little interesting thing in verse 11. The gardener, or vineyard keeper who cares for … True worship bears fruit for God (vv. He is available to us all, right now, and every moment from now until we stand before him in heaven. He is where sinful men and women meet with the Holy God. Where sinners met with God. If you were to plant a fig tree, you would leave it without harvesting the fruit for three years. The lesson of the fig tree comes alive every year as I look out my window and think, “dead, dead, dead” and then every spring there comes, “life, life, life.” I know I am forgetting the three barren years of Luke 13, but I am impatient so one season makes me think all is lost. We will have to open our hearts to those not like us. Jesus was hungry. That’s the heart of Jesus. He blocks more harm from getting in. How are we going to get that? Catholic Church. So we need to understand what Jesus was doing. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Who can endure? He had to confront it. Cresting the Mount of Olives in Bethany, they saw a citadel built by Herod the Great for refuge in case of war. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. It withered. Jesus says “learn a lesson from the fig tree.” This does not mean interpret what the fig tree is. What appeared full of life was actually lifeless. The tribulation ushers in the kingdom. But stories and songs trick them and go around—kind of like Jesus’ stories and lessons. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. They looked so good to him. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one.” (CCC 65). However long this era lasts, it will only end with the Second Coming and Final Judgment. Like this fig tree, the nation of Israel has a deceptive appearance. It is possible to be outwardly religious and inwardly dead. What’s going on in Isaiah 56? If Herod could move a hill to establish a place of refuge, could God not move a mountain? What happens when Jesus shows up to people like that? Sinners couldn’t get close to God. 21:20). He brings God’s glory in. And if you look closely, they all have teeth marks. “Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus teaches about “those days” after the coming tribulation, days of a darkened sun and a dull moon, falling stars, shaken heavens. But those usually aren’t our biggest problem. To reiterate this moral, Jesus tells the story of the fig tree, the vineyard owner, and the gardener who took care of the vineyard. How about we make a commitment this morning, united together, to never establish any barrier that would keep others from Christ? (32) Now learn a parable of the fig tree.--As in so many other instances (comp. Who of us hasn’t? fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near That’s what Jesus saw when he entered the temple. There are two kinds of fruit that a fig tree bears. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. We have a hunger for true worship, and if we go to a dead temple looking for spiritual fruit, we’re going to be disappointed and left hungry. We need fruit. Showy religion is so boring. And in Jesus, it could not be easier. One day, Chuck Smith showed up to find a sign hanging on the door. “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. The test of true worship doesn’t reside in showy religiosity but in God-glorifying life. The temple was an amazing place. What’s going on? 17 And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? He was done looking. Well, in Mark 13, Jesus said not one stone of the temple will be left on another. Copyright © 2020 EWTN News, Inc. All rights reserved. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. God loves to bring sinners to himself. Still, we are given signs, and if we are wise, we will consider them and “learn a lesson from the fig tree” (Mark 13:28), as Christ points out. It's coming back to life, when the tree is coming back to life; He said you know it is near. You can do a whole study of the meaning of Israel as the fig tree and the purpose of the temple. So let’s look at each part, and notice how to spot the real thing—how to spot true worship of God. So God gave us Jesus. He says “this” mountain. Why did Jesus take out his anger on the poor fig tree? So it wasn’t the season for figs, but the leaves indicated it was the season for these little nubs. And like Adam and Eve after the fall, this fig tree, though full in leaf, was useful only to cover nakedness. I’m just showing you what’s available. The fig tree represented the temple, especially her leaders. The Gentiles could enter the outer court. 19 And when evening came they went out of the city. And thus, the scene is set for next week as we prepare to celebrate the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. (We don’t know it is a millenium until Revelation.) But can’t follow through because you are ashamed? Was it a divine overreaction? He shows us that we are like that. The temple had four main sections. There is a framework in the Old Testament in which the words of the Gospel lesson make a bit more sense. All we need to know is that each instant marches onward toward God’s fulfillment, gaining momentum as it goes. Was Jesus hangry? It was where the sacrifices were made to grant purification and forgiveness. SubscribeStart your Register subscription today. Sermon preached for the Third Sunday in Lent, preached on March 3, 2013. It doesn’t even seem to make sense, does it? Order Bulk SubscriptionsGet a discount on 6 or more copies sent to your parish, organization The test of true worship is not merely how we’re feeling about God. We will have to lay down some of our preferences. Look at verse 23. We have the advantage of hindsight. Pre-figs, as it were. The Lesson of the Fig Tree. That’s the question. Jesus becomes the very center of our life and worship. Verse 24, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” This isn’t a promise to grant our every wish. Still, we are given signs, and if we are wise, we will consider them and “learn a lesson from the fig tree” (Mark 13:28), as Christ points out. Jesus’ answer is to have faith in God. God loves to revive his people. LESSONS OF THE FIG TREE As Jesus and His disciples were traveling from Bethany to Jerusalem the day after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus saw a fig tree having leaves, but upon closer inspection He saw it had no fruit “for it was not the season for figs” (Mark 11:13). On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. Jesus is sitting on the Mount of Olives as he speaks, looking out on the Temple. The temple was 46 years in the making. We need another way—another tree from which to eat. Maybe you came here this morning and didn’t even know you had this mountain of religiosity blocking your worship. Mat 24:32 “ Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. Matt 24:29-31says that the events occur “after the tribulation” or “at the end of the tribulation” so we are in a post-tribulation time frame. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?”. If I had my way, my tree never would have made it three years running with no fruit. 32″Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near ; 33 so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Here’s the point. What if they had kept that sign up? With Jesus as our access point to God, we can be sure it will never be compromised. 30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Mark Sandwich Again a. The fig tree is used throughout Scripture 42 times. 20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. We also explore related Bible Verses & Scripture Quotes to further illustrate the meaning and application of this important parable. Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Where God dwelt on earth. But what is this mountain? And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” Kind of weird, huh? God did something powerful. We have to be bearing much fruit, not just give an appearance of religiosity. Posted on Aug 22, 2014 by Darris McNeely Estimated reading time: 9 minutes. Empowered with the Holy Spirit, we rejoice that he has given us the mission of cooperating with him in the restoration of the world. Later, four disciples press further about the timeframe of this coming horror. Jesus was there in Jerusalem for that very purpose. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in… The other day, I explained the parable of the fig tree to a man. When Jesus went back to the temple that day, he went on a mission. He remains pure no matter what we bring to him. It’s an offer to find total cleansing before God, in him alone. If God’s church is a house of prayer—a house of worship—then everyone is welcome. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Add to my study list. Let’s pick it up in verse 12. So ask him for it, and he will give it! We have an amazing capacity for self-deception and self-justification. The temple was amazing. The temple was the center of life and worship. Now, this story is really interesting from a historical perspective. Christianity is not about dreary outward appearances but fruit bearing life the makes us rejoice and brings glory to God. Jesus isn’t putting himself in a genie’s bottle. 20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. God judges fruitlessness, and expects that those who have a relationship with Him will “bear much fruit” ( John 15:5-8 ). They decided, together, that they would rip up the carpet and the pews before they would again hinder one of these young beach kids from worshiping God. Notice Jesus doesn’t say “a” mountain. It’s deadness is not a problem Jesus could ignore. This lesson escapes the Twelve, who are more amazed at the speed with which Jesus’ words come true (Matt. But it wasn’t doing what it was supposed to do. Notes on John 8:12; John 10:1), we may think of the words as illustrated by a living example.Both time and place make this probable. This is not the kind of response I expect. God is glorified by the fruit of our efforts for His kingdom, and He expects us to “bear much fruit”. Just looked around. How does it have any relation to the fig tree and to the temple? Those aren’t up for discussion. . Lesson #2: The Master is patient with us. Add in the fact that Mark said it wasn’t the time for figs, and it does seem a bit out of character, doesn’t it? Repentance is necessary, and it is possible with God's help. We need intimacy. But it wasn’t, at least not alive to God. And, believe it or not, he actually wants to be near to us. Over the last 1500 years or so, the consensus among scholars was that the lesson of the fig tree and the last generation referred to the generation of Jesus. So he cursed it, saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”, If you think this is a bit odd, you’re not alone. It withers. That’s what Jesus wants for his disciples. Our Master is … Chuck Smith was a pastor of a little church in Costa Mesa, California. Instead, He teaches on prayer, informing His followers that believing prayer … His leaves never whither and his fruit never fades for those who need it. As the leaves came in, the tree would grow little nubs. 32 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. That can sound scary, but it’s really a wonderful thing. Restoring true worship cost nothing less than the life of Jesus. Who can worship God in a Wal-Mart? In this case the fig tree story helps us to understand what Jesus is doing clearing the Temple. Throughout the Old Testament, the fig tree held spiritual value as a symbol for Israel, serving as a metaphor for their standing with God. Give a Gift SubscriptionBless friends, family or clergy with a gift of the Register. In fact, it’s the only time in the Gospels where Jesus uses miraculous power for wounding rather than healing. What? As a result, Jesus cursed the fig Let me propose something for us here at Refuge. 33 So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. When a church becomes a place where it’s hard to find God, it becomes something other than what God intends. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. Well, here’s the rest of the story. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. You get everything Jesus deserves. God judges fruitlessness, and expects that those who have a relationship with Him will “bear much fruit” (John 15:5-8). The mountain of dead worship they saw in the temple. Baptism Makes Us Sons and Daughters of the Father, Becoming Beacons of Light Like the Wise Men, Saying ‘Yes’ Like Mary This Advent, As We Prepare for the Christ Child, Buffalo’s New Bishop Focuses on His Faith as He Addresses the Challenges That Await Him, Scottish Bishop Asks Catholics Worldwide to Join Him in Marian Consecration, Influential German Jesuit Behind Synodal Path Finally Steps Down. 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