Mark 13:28-31 Lesson From A Fig Tree
Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 9, 2013
Mark 13:28-31 NLTse “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. (29) In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. (30) I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. (31) Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
The disciples still could not see a connection between stones used to build the temple and the trials ahead. They also couldn’t see the relationship between Jesus and the temple. Jesus knew they were too interested in popular concepts on prophecy to show any interest in any of the prophecies He was fulfilling at the time. There was one more thing Jesus could do to get them to think about and concentrate on, what is happening in the present, compare it to recent events, and listen to the Spirit as He reveals lessons in His message. To emphasize the point, Jesus told them a parable designed to point them back to the beginning of the day. “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree.” Jesus looked at their reaction hoping they would remember the fig tree they encountered in the morning.
Peter remembered what Jesus 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 inGod. 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. I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours. (Mark 11:21-24 NLTse).
It was only a matter of distinguishing the similarities and differences between a budding and withered fig tree. Jesus looked at a mature fig tree with only leaves, a promise of fruit, but nothing to be found. The three main ways of identifying a tree is to look at the fruit, leaves, and flowers. The fig tree Jesus cursed had only leaves to identify it. How does this compare to a parable about a fig tree with buds and leaves sprouting, new growth with flowers and eventually fruit. Jesus also told them when you see these happening, you know summer is near.
This calls attention to two other points. You have to look carefully at a tree to see buds. Most people don’t pay any attention until the leaves are full. By then it may be too late. Why did Jesus mention summer? Is He referring to the passing of winter? Is there a relationship to praying your flight will not be in winter? Looking back the disciples began wondering if there was a connection between the desecration in the temple and winter. What relationship or contrast does that have with a budding fig tree and summer?
Trees reach out with new growth in all directions. New branches grow to the left, right, up, and some may reach down. Jesus used trees as a symbol because of their geometric growth patterns which occur both above and below ground. Roots take in water and minerals from the ground. Leaves capture rays from the sun, combining light with carbon dioxide to create sugars which combine with water to make the life blood of the tree. Both trees used resources God provided, only one tree had the promise of producing anything to give back to God and share with His people. Jesus taught these lessons in the parable of the unthoughtful tenants who took credit for all the work, but had no regard for the gifts God gave. The evil tenants represented religious leaders modifying laws and messages God gave them to understand and share. A lack of fruit showed how they took God’s resources including the symbols in the original Tabernacle and services, modified them to serve their desires and locking the message away from the world. They offered nothing to God outside of their meaningless sacrifices. “What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 NLTse).
Jesus knew disobedience will reach out in all directions just like the obedient tree bearing fruit. Barren trees will do everything in their power to imitate fruitful trees. Only Jesus’ close inspection is adequate to pass judgment. Jesus showed them an example of an unfruitful tree as a warning others would follow the examples they witnessed that day. This is why Jesus warned about false Messiahs a number of times. Not everyone who claims to follow Jesus will properly use everything God provides for the harvest of the world. Not everyone will prepare an offering of the first fruits for God, their Creator. The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, its branches spreading across the garden. Its roots grow down through a pile of stones; it takes hold on a bed of rocks. But when it is uprooted, it’s as though it never existed! That’s the end of its life, and others spring up from the earth to replace it. (Job 8:16-19 NLTse).
Jesus repeated another term when He continued His lesson. In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
Jesus used the parable of a fig tree to point their minds back to the beginning of the day, which was also an acted parable to show how important it was for them to remember and review every detail of the day. Little did the know at the time, Jesus was fulfilling prophecies they were expected to teach in the future. Jesus also pointed this out when He repeated the term, “these things take place.” He wanted them to go back over every detail of the day, remember and review. His last days teaching in the temple were too important to forget.
They spend their days in prosperity, then go down to the grave in peace. And yet they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of you and your ways. Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him? What good will it do us to pray?’ (They think their prosperity is of their own doing, but I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.) (Job 21:13-16 NLTse).
This entry was posted on March 9, 2013 at 12:01 am and is filed under Gospel Messages Mark. Tagged: godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine, learn a lesson from the fig tree, Mark 13:28-31 Lesson From A Fig Tree, my words will never disappear, Obedience is better than sacrifice, summer is near, What is more pleasing to the LORD. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.