The Barren Fig Tree Cursed
Matt. 21:18-22 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Mark 11:12-14 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
Mark 11:20-26 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. 22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 25 And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
I. Jesus performed miracles so unbelievers would believe he is the Son of the living God.
A. He performed miracles so the unbelieving Jews would believe.
B. He performed miracles so his disciples would believe.
C. Here is a final miracle to teach his disciples that they will have the things necessary for this life, if they will only call on the Lord to give them to him.
1. There are at least three different thoughts we can observe from this miracle.
a. The coming destruction of the nation of Israel.
b. The lack of fruit in the lives of believers, and the consequences thereof. (leaves or fruit)
c. A promise to believers if they will only trust and ask.
1.) I believe this is the proper interpretation of this miracle.
2.) The application is that we believe and trust Christ for daily provision (and everything else)!
2. Christ gives this miracle to his disciples so after his ascension into heaven, they will have confidence in his gracious and tender supply for them.
a. This is a very tender miracle, revealing precious promises for the disciples of Christ.
1.) Christ knows what we are going to face tomorrow, therefore he reveals precious promises to us today, so we can have confidence when tomorrow’s troubles come.
2.) We need to continually pray that God will open our eyes today, so we can be strong tomorrow.
b. Christ knows what the disciples are going to face after his death, burial and resurrection, but they do not know.
1.) This is a very necessary miracle, because there will be very difficult times ahead when the disciples must be able to depend upon Christ for every necessity.
2.) Christ is preparing his disciples that they might have (1) faith in him, (2) let God move mountains for them, (3) pray and believe on him, and (4) forgive.
3. This miracle does not teach “name it and claim it”, as described by many charismatics.
a. Psalms 37:4 states, Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
b. God will give us the desires of our heart, if we delight ourselves in the LORD.
c. Notice the complete context of this promise.
1.) Verse 1 – Fret not thyself…
2.) Verse 3 – Trust in the LORD…
3.) Verse 4 – Delight thyself in the LORD…
4.) Verse 5 – Commit thy way unto the LORD…
5.) Verse 7 – Rest in the LORD…
6.) Verse 8 – Cease from anger…
7.) Verse 27 – Depart from evil…
II. The miracle.
A. It is a “two day” miracle.
1. Apparently, the fig tree did not dry up immediately, but it was dried up the next day when the disciples walked by it.
a. In every other miracle, the results were immediate.
b. Peter’s remark about the withered fig tree reveals the tree was not immediately withered.
c. If the results are not immediate, a miracle is still a miracle.
2. The lesson for us is that sometimes we might need to wait for God to fulfill his promises to us.
a. Sometimes God answers our prayers quickly, but sometimes he takes years to answer them.
b. Sometimes God answers our prayers with “No”.
3. The fig tree was dried up from the roots.
a. It was not just the leaves that were withered, but the entire tree, beginning from the roots.
b. Evidently, the dried up roots is evidenced by the trunk and limbs being dried up.
c. The curses and blessings of God are far reaching.
1.) The curses and blessings of God are not superficial, but go to the heart.
2.) Satan, and men, give superficial solutions.
4. It is no accident that Christ directed his disciples again to the fig tree again.
a. He desired them to see the result of the miracle.
b. Often God works in circumstances such as this “happenstance” to reveal invaluable truths to us.
B. The four lessons Jesus wants to teach.
1. Mark 11:22 – Have faith in God.
2. Mark 11:23 – God can move mountains for you.
3. Mark 11:24 – Pray and believe and you will have what you ask for.
4. Mark 11:25-26 – Forgive, or you will be unforgiven.
C. Lesson # 1 – Mark 11:22 – Have faith in God.
1. This is the foundation of all the rest Christ has to say.
2. Hebrews 11:6 – Without faith it is impossible to please God.
3. Jesus is speaking to his disciples, not to the world in general.
4. Hebrews 11:1 – definition of faith - Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
D. Lesson # 2 – Mark 11:23 – God can move mountains for you.
1. Link lesson # 1 to lesson # 2 – It is faith in God that moves mountains, not faith in ourselves, or faith in our faith, or any other thing.
2. Jesus wants all of his disciples to have confidence in him, and to continually and completely rely on him.
3. There are impossible situations in our lives that we cannot overcome, but nothing is impossible with God.
a. Luke 1:37 – When Mary questioned her pregnancy because she knew not a man, the angel said, For with God nothing shall be impossible.
b. Matthew 19:26 – When Peter questioned who could be saved, Jesus said, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
4. God might not move the mountain the way we think he ought to move it, but he will remove the mountain.
E. Lesson # 3 – Mark 11:24 – Pray and believe and you will have what you ask for.
1. If there is no prayer, there is no asking, and there is no receiving.
2. It is possible to ask in such a way that you will not receive, but there is also not asking and not receiving.
a. Matthew 21:22 states, And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
b. John 16:24 reveals, Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
c. James 4:3 declares, Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
d. 1 John 3:22 states, And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
F. Lesson # 4 – Mark 11:25-26 – Forgive, or you will be unforgiven.
1. We must forgive all, or God will not forgive us.
a. It makes no difference what they have done to us, or what we perceive they have done to us.
b. It makes no difference when they wronged us – a long time ago, or recently.
c. It makes no difference if they are friend or foe, or complete enemy.
2. Matthew 5:43-48 – Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? 47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? 48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
a. Loving and forgiving our enemies goes against the natural inclinations of this body and life.
b. We naturally want to destroy our enemies, but when we attempt to destroy them, we destroy ourselves.
c. If we would really be the children of God, we will love our enemies, and pray that God will bless and keep them safe.
d. This prayer must be prayed from a truthful heart, which is completely open and honest before a most holy God.
e. If our enemies never ask us to forgive them, we must forgive them anyway.
3. Matthew 18:21-22 states, Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22 Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.
a. Then follows the parable of the forgiven servant.
b. The lesson is that we should always forgive those that trespass against us because God has forgiven us of much greater sins against himself.
c. It is wicked to count the number of times we have forgiven those that sin against us.
d. Christ intends for us to forgive as long as they ask.
e. If our friends never ask us to forgive them, we should forgive them anyway; at least be in an attitude of forgiveness.