Good morning! Today’s guest blogger is one of the people that I am supposed to be mentoring although I learn way more from her! Brenna is a seminary student at Princeton Theological Seminary. Her most recent travels took her to the Holy Lands but she has been all over the world…studying and living all over. She works as a volunteer chaplain in the prison system but also dabbles in youth ministry and all sorts of discernment. Here is what she has to say today….
Mark 11: 12-14
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.
I have always found the story of the fig tree incredibly confusing. In the middle of the rich and exciting events of the 11th chapter of Mark, a chapter that has the triumphal entry to Jerusalem, Jesus flipping the tables in the temple, and so on and so forth, we hear about Jesus cruising a tree. Jesus is walking to Bethany with his friends. Feeling a little hungry, he walks over to a fig tree only to discover that there are no figs on it. What does Jesus then do, well of course he does what anyone might do when they hunger and go to get some food and find none, he curses the tree.
So what is the point of this story? One way to understand it, is to think our selves as the fig tree? What if Jesus, hungry to find someone to love, or server him, or to do his work in the world, turns to us? Maybe from a distance he thinks ‘wow, there are some of my trees that will surely have fruit.’ But what happens when Jesus comes to call on us and we are lacking fruit from him? This parable warns us about the danger of being a Christian just in name. It is not just enough to say that we are followers of Christ, but we have to live a life that bears fruit as well. We need to make sure we are living lives where our Christian identity is being lived out in our action and behaviors, not just in name. This way when Jesus comes to us hungry, he will find fruitful servants!