[the mystery of the fig tree]
The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.
The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!”
Then Jesus said to the disciples, “Have faith in God. I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘May you be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and it will happen. But you must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in your heart.
Mark 11:12-14, 20-23, NLT
I went for a walk with Jakey boy (my friends’ Moscow Watchdog) last night after work, and while he explored the inner makings of a bush, I was listening to my audio Bible. Currently at Church we’re reading the Gospel of Mark, so Mark it was.
As I got to the passage that I have quoted above, I realized something that I haven’t understood before. This passage was confusing to me – it almost seemed as if Jesus just acted out of the whim and cursed an innocent tree for nothing – for Mark makes it clear that it wasn’t the season for fruit yet.
“God, that is odd. Why did Jesus snap at that poor tree?”
And it was then when I thought at the meaning of the “fruits” that Jesus usually talked about. Nothing He has ever said or done was without purpose, and most of the time one can find layers upon layers of meaning in just one short parable.
The fruits of the Spirit.
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23, NLT
These are the fruits we are called to bear. However, there is no “season” for it – for these fruits should be present year-round. We can’t simply wait for the favorable conditions to show patience, or the war to end to enjoy peace. That’s not the point of the fruits of the Spirit – the point is that with His help, we are able to bear fruit no matter what bitter winter around us is trying to accomplish.
Maybe y’all knew the meaning of the fig tree long before, but it was a blessing to me last night to finally grasp the meaning of it. I love the feeling when something that was dim before suddenly becomes so clear that you wonder, “How could I have not seen it before?”
Bear fruits. ‘Cuz you can. No matter what the season is.
P.S. Specially for Bill, the dog-loving bro 🙂 Here’s Jake I mentioned above: