April 06, 2020

Now's Your Opportunity

Mark 11:12-25

[Jesus] said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” . . . Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

—  Mark 11:14, 21

Here is an odd story about Jesus. Hungry, Jesus sees a fig tree in leaf, though it is out of season. Finding it has no fruit, he curses the tree, and it dies. Why does Jesus do that? Doesn’t it seem unreasonable? Why does Mark tell this story?

That last question is the key. The gospel accounts are not collections of random stories of things Jesus did. Each gospel book is a revelation of who Jesus is. So either Mark wants us to think Jesus is an unreasonable tree killer, or something deeper is happening here.

Think of the tree as an illustration of the temple. It was not bearing fruit the way God intended. If a fig tree has leaves, that usually means it has some fruit. But Jesus found none. The same was true at the temple. It looked like a temple, but instead of it being a place of prayer, the people had turned it into a marketplace. It had become a place that robbed God of the prayers of his people. So Jesus overturned the ­money ­tables and brought an end to the unfruitful distractions there, just as he brought an end to the unfruitful tree.

We have opportunities every day to serve God as he has created us to. Sometimes it’s as easy as taking time to pray. Sometimes it’s more difficult—maybe even impossible on our own. But there’s never an excuse; even the impossible is possible with God.

Lord, help me to serve you faithfully. I want to be fruitful in whatever ways you ask me to be, ­whether that means something easy or difficult. Amen.

About the author — Scott DeVries

Scott DeVries has served as a church pastor and as a ministry ­coordinator in the Holland, Michigan, area. He currently works at ­facilitating connections between the more than twenty ministries and 1,100 churches of the Christian Reformed Church in North America. He has a passion for prayer, church organization, and studying the Scriptures in their original languages.

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