Fruitful in Every Season: Mark 11:12-14; 20-26

Focus Passage: Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 (NCV)

12 The next day as Jesus was leaving Bethany, he became hungry. 13 Seeing a fig tree in leaf from far away, he went to see if it had any figs on it. But he found no figs, only leaves, because it was not the right season for figs. 14 So Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And Jesus’ followers heard him say this.

20 The next morning as Jesus was passing by with his followers, they saw the fig tree dry and dead, even to the roots. 21 Peter remembered the tree and said to Jesus, “Teacher, look! The fig tree you cursed is dry and dead!”

22 Jesus answered, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, fall into the sea.’ And if you have no doubts in your mind and believe that what you say will happen, God will do it for you. 24 So I tell you to believe that you have received the things you ask for in prayer, and God will give them to you. 25 When you are praying, if you are angry with someone, forgive him so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins. [ 26 But if you don’t forgive other people, then your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.]”

Read Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 in context and/or in other translations on!

Has Jesus ever challenged you with something He said or did?

Has Jesus’ actions ever made you wonder about what He was trying to teach His disciples?

This passage is definitely a place where I am curious to what Jesus is trying to teach, and the details that Mark gives make the event even more fascinating: Jesus becomes hungry; He goes to find fruit from a tree out of season, and then He curses the tree for not having fruit.

Perhaps Jesus was frustrated that the tree looked appealing and that it should have fruit, or perhaps He is trying to teach His followers something about life and their role in God’s Kingdom.

With fruit trees, there is a season of producing fruit (warm, sunny months) and a season of rest where no fruit is produced (cold, less sunny months). Not all points in the year are fruitful for a fruit tree.

But if this was truly not the season for the fig tree to bear fruit, then Jesus could be acting irrational – or He could be using the fig tree as a metaphor. What Jesus may be trying to teach us is outward appearances (being “leafy”) are not as important to God as our inward character (bearing fruit). Jesus may be also teaching us that as followers of Him, every season should be fruitful regarding our inner lives. How we bear fruit may be based on the different seasons – but bearing good fruit is what is important to Him.

Jesus response seems harsh: cursing a tree He knew wouldn’t have fruit on it (because it wasn’t created to have fruit in that season). However, with this action, we can learn that bearing good fruit is important for believers in every season of life we face. Our inward character is revealed and represented by the fruit we produce.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus “Reflective Bible Study” package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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