Lately I have been reading people who have completely different worldviews arguing amongst themselves about the meaning of Scripture and what it means to follow Jesus. I was starting to get a little bummed out reading these people who are never going to come to an agreement. I figured it was time I started reading the Bible myself so I could impose my own worldview on the Scriptures.
About two weeks ago I sat down and read through the Gospel of Mark. It's the shortest so I thought it might make a good place to start. I was reading along and everything seemed familiar (I have been attending church for a long time). And then I came to this little passage:
12 The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 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. 14 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)
And then this one:
20 The next morning as they passed by the fig tree he had cursed, the disciples noticed it had withered from the roots up. 21 Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree on the previous day and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed has withered and died!” (Mark 11:20,21)
Imagine the sound of a record scratching. Got it? That's what I heard in my head. When I was back in college studying poetry, the professors told us there is a reason for every word in a poem. And then I have been told to pay attention to the passages in the Bible that don't seem to make sense. They are there for a reason.
But what is the reason for this passage? It's too early in the season for fruit. Jesus knew that. One obvious lesson from this passage is: don't make Jesus angry. But there had to be something else.
Two nights ago as I was laying down to sleep after a long day in the salt mine, a thought popped into my head. Maybe Jesus expects even immature trees (or believers) to bear fruit. Maybe as believers we aren't supposed to wait around for that day when we finally become mature. We need to start bearing fruit now.
Or maybe Jesus was just really hungry. Any thoughts?