Monday, March 7, 2022
The Withered Fig Tree
18-20 Early the next morning Jesus was returning to the city. He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree alongside the road, he approached it anticipating a breakfast of figs. When he got to the tree, there was nothing but fig leaves. He said, “No more figs from this tree—ever!” The fig tree withered on the spot, a dry stick. The disciples saw it happen. They rubbed their eyes, saying, “Did we really see this? A leafy tree one minute, a dry stick the next?”
21-22 But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”
-Matthew 21:18-22 The Message
The Barren Fig Tree
Verse 18: Now in the early morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry.
Verse 19: And seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves alone; and He *said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered.
Verse 19 study: Jesus cursed the fig tree because he was showing his anger at religion without substance. It wasn’t a thoughtless, angry act, but an acted-out parable. The fig tree looked good from a distance, but it was fruitless based on a closer examination. The temple looked good at first, then its sacrifices and other activities were hallowed because they were not done to worship God.
Matthew 21:43: Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruit.
If you have faith without putting in the necessary work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. Your faith has to be genuine to bear fruit.
Verse 20: Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?”
Verse 21: And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen.
Verse 21 study: Many wondered about Jesus’ statement ‘we can move mountains if we have the faith and don’t doubt.’ Jesus is not suggesting to perform magic acts to literally move mountains. He is making a point about the disciples and our lack of faith. The mountains are your obstacles in life, and your faith has to be so strong that you can move mountains. What kind of mountains do you face? Have you talked to God about them? How strong is your faith?
Verse 22: And whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive it all.”
Verse 22 study: Remember, this verse is not a promise that we can get anything we want by asking Jesus and believing. The one thing that people don’t grasp is, God, don’t give us stuff if it is going to hurt you or others that violate his own nature or will. Jesus’ statement is not a blank check. Jesus can fulfill our request if the request is in harmony with the principles of God’s kingdom The stronger our faith, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God’s will, then God will be happy to grant them.