The Withering Fig Tree (1)

Sorry for the long delay in blogging, but I think we are slowly getting back on track. We are so glad to have had a great time with our kids and meeting up with some of you, but it is wonderful to be back in Greece at this time of the year. The Greeks are getting excited for Easter, the weather is wonderful and mild, with signs of Spring showing everywhere. Snow is still low on the mountains and yet the blossom is on many of the trees making the colors quite exquisite.
Today the pastor was talking about the fig tree and since we have fig trees in our garden, the message got me thinking. At the moment we have bare trees, with not even a leaf, but in no time we will have a show of green fleshy leaves completely covering the tree, but still not a bud or any other sign of a fig coming for another while. It is just not the season for figs.
In Matthew 21:22 & Mark 11: 11-23, we read the Biblical account of how Jesus came hungry to the fig tree which was covered in leaves, but there was no sign of fruit and Jesus commanded that no fruit would ever grow on the tree, which then soon withered. When we read passages like this we become confused as to what Jesus was doing, why He would curse a tree and what does that have to do with us today.
For those who would be tree-huggers, we need to realize that it was not a huge issue to cut down or remove a tree at that time. We all are familiar with cut flowers and love to have them decorate our homes, churches, weddings and graves. We cut down Christmas trees and other trees or bushes and have no problems with it. I read recently, where someone said, that there is more chance of survival being a tree in this world, than a baby conceived in a mother’s womb. Many who would not want to see a tree cut down have no problem accepting that there is a choice as to whether a pregnancy is terminated or not. So this does bring some perspective to our ethics.
NB in the Matthew account in verse 20, that the disciples ‘marveled’ about it, but it doesn’t say they were upset. So, it is unnecessary for us to worry about the tree, but look for the reason it was done. When Peter asked Jesus about the withered tree in Mark 11:23>>Jesus told Him that if they had faith to believe then they could do greater things.
Since coming to live here in Greece, I have realized just what it meant to cause a fig tree to wither. The first year we cut back our fig trees as the branches were taking over the yard and many of the branches were left lying at the back of the fence. After winter was over and things were becoming green again, we noticed that many of the dumped branches had taken root and started to grow. The first couple of years we only had foliage on these trees, but last year for the first, these discarded branches, have started to produce fruit of their own. This made me realize how much power it took to kill that tree, when they are so prolific that even discarded branches re-grow and produce fruit.
Imagine then how much Jesus can use us, who were sinners therefore like discarded branches. We have been saved for a purpose and that is to bear fruit for His Glory. We have been grafted in to the main Branch, can drink from the strength of the Root and then produce fruit in abundance.
This was an illustration to show the disciples that if they had faith to believe in the power of prayer, they would see mountains removed, miracles done and much accomplished. This message is just as real and pertinent to us today. If we believe and if we pray, He will do His Work. What an awesome responsibility we have and what a reassuring privilege to be able to see faith in action!

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