Day 2

Day Two: Monday
Mark 11:12-21

The day after Jesus’ triumphant arrival, he does two things that seem out of character for him: (1) he curses a fig tree that does not bear fruit when he is hungry, and (2) he drives vendors out of the temple and flips over the tables of the money-changers. These actions seem more violent and angry than normal. Why did Jesus act with such strong passion and emotion in these situations?

Most of us can understand situation number two. Of course, Jesus would be upset that people were treating a holy place of worship like it was a common marketplace. They had turned his Father’s house into a place of commercial business. Both the leaders and the people were not coming to the temple with pure hearts to offer praise to the Lord; rather, they were coming to fulfill their desires and to make a profit. It only makes sense that Jesus would be angry.

But, it is the first situation that causes us to pause. Why would Jesus curse a fig tree just because it had no fruit? In order to understand this story, we have to place ourselves in their context. It would be expected for a fig tree with no leaves to have no fruit, but a fig tree covered in leaves would have indicated a healthy tree, so it should have had fruit. In other words, this fig tree gave the appearance of a healthy, fruitful tree, when it in fact, it was anything but healthy and fruitful. Jesus’ reaction was less about the tree itself and more about hypocrisy.

These two stories are actually quite similar. Both the fig tree and the people in the temple appeared to play the right part, yet both were living a reality that was quite different. How often do we do the same?

Activity: Read the biblical account of these two stories. Consider your own life. Is there any area that you give the appearance of fruitfulness when the reality is far from fruitful? What do you need to curse or overturn in your life to reorient yourself to Christ? Pray and confess these parts of your life to God, offering your repentance. Thank Him for His forgiveness of your past actions and ask Him to help you move forward and give you strength to take the bold, challenging steps necessary to grow fruit in all areas of your life.