What Jesus Did! 'The Fig Tree' — Mark 11:12-14

Monday, August 12, 2024

The next morning as [Jesus and the twelve disciples] were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. Then Jesus said to the tree, "May no one ever eat your fruit again!" And the disciples heard him say it.
— Mark 11:12-14 NLT

Key Thought

What? What in the world is this about? ... Yeah, that's most people's response to this story. Jesus uses his miraculous powers to place a curse on the fig tree. Our human viewpoint looks on this curse as capricious and unfair. It's not even the season for figs, and yet Jesus curses the tree because it is fruitless. Clearly, Jesus is trying to teach his close followers — and us in the process — something very important. As in some other stories and events in the New Testament, it is important that we focus on the one key point of the story. As this story unfolds, it is possible to see that the lack of fruit on the fig tree foreshadows Jerusalem and all that it symbolizes with the Temple — the central religious place for God's people at that time. Jesus will die near Jerusalem. He will die for the people there ... and people all over the world. He will come again looking to see if there is fruit as a result of his life, sacrifice, and resurrection. There will be choices to make. There will be a season of decision, followed by fruit-bearing. Jerusalem had its time. Now it is our own time of decision and continuous fruit-bearing. What will our future be?

Today's Prayer

O Father in heaven, I choose to honor Jesus and trust him to be my Savior. I believe he is the Christ, the Messiah your prophets promised would come. I want him to reign as Lord in my life. I open my life for the Holy Spirit to do his work of transformation in me ... conforming me into the character of your Son and transforming me into a temple where you live. My prayer is that your holy fruit be formed in me. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.

Related Scripture Readings

  • Matthew 7:20
  • John 15:1-8
  • Philippians 1:11


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Illustration of Mark 11:12-14 NLT — "May no one ever eat your fruit again!"

About This Devotional

What Jesus Did! is a series of one-year devotional guides through each gospel, using one short scripture passage each day and following the Gospel in sequential order. Each devotional consists of a scripture passage and a reflection and a prayer which open up the day's scripture and show how it challenges you to live for Jesus.

What Jesus Did! is written by Phil Ware and is available in book form.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.