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The Tree That Bears No Fruit

John Collins12/18/2012Mark 11 tells us the story of the fig tree that Jesus Cursed.  This is a story that confuses many, wondering why the Bible would mention Jesus cursing a tree.  Reading the chapter in context, we find that the story of the tree fits like a glove around the greater story.  

As Jesus passes by the tree, He found that the tree had many leaves.  So much, in fact, that He could see the leaves from a distance and travelled towards it.  Jesus, the Creator who knew all things, went towards a tree with no fruit!  He knew there was not a single growth of fruit on the tree before he even noticed the tree from a distance!

As He and the disciples approached the tree and found no fruit to be hanging, Jesus cursed the tree saying, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again."

After this, they came into Jerusalem and entered the temple.  Jesus violently drove the money changers and those who bought and sold from the temple, overturning the money changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons to the humble for their sacrificial offering.  He exclaimed that "My house shall be called a house of prayer!"

The next morning, Jesus and the disciples went by the fig tree, and found it to be withered away to its roots.  Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look!  The fig tree you cursed has withered!"

Jesus replied, "Have faith in God.  Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and thrown into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses."

Our faith is not a blind faith that has aimless ambition, and moving a mountain with no purpose for the Glory of God will never line up with faith in the Creator who can move the mountain for us.  There is a reason the fig tree was cursed, and a reason that Jesus gave this response.

As the doctrines of man turn religious faith away from God, it may produce many branches and many leaves, but no fruit.  The fig tree was no different than the money changers who made profit on the faithful, selling them greatly over-priced pigeons for their sacrificial offering.  Their hearts and minds had turned from God, and produced no fruit.

At the same time, the faithful were blinded to the evil souls of those in power.  They felt as though the over-priced pigeons had spiritual application, and were eager to spend their hard-earned wages to the money changers rather than bringing their own sacrificial offering.  

Jesus gave by example to the disciples the fact that they had the power to discern good and evil.  Their faith could overthrow the powers of evil that distract men from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and though it seemed like a mountain before them, it would be nothing more than a speck of dust in their paths.

As Christians, we should ask ourselves if we see the spiritual application of this story.  When we see churches spreading that bear no fruit, money-changers making profit off of cardboard boxes of idolatry, followers eager to spend hundreds of dollars on disks and books filled with the doctrines of men rather than the Word of God, is it not time to say to this mountain, "Be thou removed?"  There is no need for a Redeemer to charge the temples and overthrow the tables, the Holy Spirit now dwells within us!  All we need is faith, and organizations founded on false prophecy and fictional childhood stories will crumble at our feet!