Fruitless trees

Jesus rode into Jerusalem as the King

And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:8-10)

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. (12-14)

There is a link between the leafy branches that the people cut and spread and the leafy branches of the fig tree. The people look like healthy trees, full of leaves, and from a distance seeming to carry much fruit with their crying out of praise to the King. But, as with the fig tree, the people are nothing but leaves. They put on a great show of religion, but have no faith. So, they were cursed. Within a week the crowd rejected the very Messiah they had blessed.

He ties it together the next day.

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God. Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. (20-23)

The fig tree is “this mountain”, the mountain on which Jerusalem stood, which He told his disciples to pray would “be taken up and thrown into the sea”.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! See, your house is left to you desolate.” (Mat 23:37)

Because Jerusalem “would not”, what they had trusted in – the oracles, commandments, temple, heritage – would be taken away. Because they were a fruitless show of leaves,

Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. (Mat 21:43)



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