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Lenten Journey of Release & Renewal (Day Twenty-Nine)

Updated: Mar 19




Day Twenty-Nine



Scripture: Mark 11:12-25

12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it. 15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers.’

18 And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. 19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 Then Peter remembered and said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.’ 22 Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, “Be taken up and thrown into the sea”, and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 ‘Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.’



Observation:



"Was Jesus ‘hangry (hungry + angry)?’ The fig tree didn’t do anything wrong. It was just not the season for figs. Why did he curse the tree? “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” With these harsh words, the tree withered away to its roots the next day.

What is even more puzzling is the message of Jesus to his disciples concerning the withered fig tree. His sermon is about faith, prayer, and forgiveness. Wait, forgiveness? Didn’t he just curse a tree for not having fruits, violently drive out the sellers, and overturn the tables of money-changers in Jerusalem?


The key to understanding his actions and teachings is to recognize that he was standing in the prophetic tradition. His “weird” act was symbolic behavior to convey the message from God; the withered, unfruitful fig tree symbolized the fate of unfaithful Jerusalem, which was destroyed in AD 70 during the First Jewish-Roman War.


Jesus came to Jerusalem with the expectation of seeing some fruit - the spiritual fruits of faith, devotion, and forgiveness. He had been traveling all over the villages to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Now, as he was approaching the final mission in Jerusalem, what he witnessed instead was how they had turned the house of prayer into a den of robbers.


May we bear fruit today to feed those who are hungry. May we have faith when we pray, and bear forgiveness for those who trespass against us. May we make the temple of God, which is our body, a house of prayer.


Application:

  1. What kind of fruit would Jesus seek from us today?

  2. Is there someone you find it very difficult to forgive? Why is it so difficult?



Prayer / Reflection:

Song of Reflection: I Could Sing of Your Love Forever
















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