‘Fig’uratively Speaking…

Back a few weeks ago, right before Easter, I became intrigued by Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree.  I had only known of the Jesus that blessed and healed things and I wanted desperately to understand the significance of the story.

In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 11, we are transported to that dusty road between Bethany and Jerusalem, just days before Jesus would be crucified:

Verse 12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it…

20As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

Withered from the roots up? Hmmm, why was that important enough to note? I closed my eyes and quietened my spirit to listen for The Teacher. The cursing of the fig tree, I sensed, was perhaps a symbolic lesson which Jesus knew the disciples would eventually understand. You see, a fig tree was a source of sustenance in their homeland, and when Jesus found it barren, He became angry; not because the tree was fruitless, but because it was a representation of the condition of His beloved Israel. Like the fig tree burgeoning with beautiful leaves, Israel may have looked amazing from the outside, but there was no fruit to be found. They were just playing a part. For the Pharisees, it had become all about the law and the way they looked. They had gotten all wrapped up in the religion and the rules and were adorned with all the right “leaves,” while in reality they had become too blind and deaf to see what the Father was doing through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ–God’s only son; the way, the truth and the life; the vine; and the very root system that gives life to not only the fig tree on that dusty old road between Bethany and Jerusalem, but to all of us that make up His eternal kingdom. They were too blind to see and so they persecuted and executed Him and Israel withered from the roots up.

Thank God, however, that the story didn’t end there. In true Godly-fashion, our Almighty Father, who is and has always been the same, rewrote the script to the benefit of those who love Him. The world pens a story and our Father rewrites it to please His Grand Plan. “Child, don’t you understand?,” I heard the still small voice say. “My grand plan, which includes the cross, is still in play today and will remain so until My Kingdom has come; until My Will is done on earth just as it is in Heaven. I am the root system. From me, eternal life springs.”

And to that, I reply, “Thank you, Jesus! Amen and Ehmen!”

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