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TEXT: Mark 11:20-24
Some of you who have been with us for the past several weeks in the Praying Though the Bible Series will find the background of this passage familiar. Jesus Christ had gone to Jerusalem at the beginning of the Passover week as the time of his crucifixion drew near. He visited the Temple, threw out those who were buying and selling for the second time in his ministry, and declared, "My house shall be called a house of prayer." As he was on his way to the Temple, however, he had an encounter with a fig tree that, by the abundance of leaves, appeared to be full of fruit. He was hungry and went to the fig tree expecting to find fruit. When he found none, he cursed the tree, declaring that no fruit would grow thereon forever.
Jesus used the image of the fig tree to illustrate the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel at that time: seemingly flourishing, but actually fruitless. There was a lot of religiosity going on in Israel, but there was little to no real spiritual fruit. This spiritual deadness was evident in the majority of Jews rejecting Jesus as the Messiah -- which was shown vividly just a few days later when many cried out for Him to be crucified. The destruction of the fig tree was prophetically symbolic of what would happen to the nation of Israel -- with God’s temporary rejection of Israel because of their rejection of Christ, and the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans about 40 years later.
As Jesus and his disciples are passing by the fig tree on their way from Jerusalem, Mark tells us that "Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God." ...