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Jesus and the Fig Tree

[Note: This week I will be chronicling the events of Holy Week with a short devotion each day.]

Yesterday launched the holiest week on the church calendar. We call it Holy Week, the last week of Jesus’ mortal life.

It began yesterday with Palm Sunday, Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem. There were shouts of praise and acclamation. That evening, Mark tells us Jesus went to the temple, “looked at everything” and went to stay outside of Jerusalem at Mary’s, Martha’s and Lazarus’ home in Bethany.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.” (Mark 11:12–14, NIV84)

Scholars debate (are you surprised?) whether Jesus intended the symbolism of the fruitless fig tree to represent the spiritually unfruitful nation of Israel or all spiritually fruitless believers in general. Either way, it seems his point is clear. Jesus is not interested in “signs of life” – the green, lustrous leaves of religion. He is interested in fruit. After all, this is what he told his disciples not long before: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John 15:8, NIV84)

In a shocking development, Jesus left the withering tree and went to the temple where he overturned tables and chased out the money-changers and profiteers. Apparently he is serious about fruitlessness (By the way, the cleansing of the temple is the text for our Good Friday service at 6 p.m.).

After the wearying day, Jesus returned to Bethany with his disciples.

As you start YOUR Monday, remember this: God is after your heart! “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13, NIV84) Keep your heart connected to the True Vine and you will produce fruit.

Today, take a moment in prayer to recommit yourself to Him.

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