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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor

Third Last Sunday 

By: Rev. Wayne Dobratz

The Lesson of the Fig Tree
Mark 13:24-31

I. See its tell-tale signs

A. The tender twigs and the emerging leaves point to the approach of summer

B. Just so, these "signs" point to the return of Jesus.

II. It is valuable.

A. The Owner fertilizes it and cares for it--Cf. Lk. 13:8

B. Jesus saw in it a picture of his ministry to Israel.
   1. It usually took 3 years for a fig tree to bear fruit.
   2. He spent 3 years with Israel, but the fig tree bore no fruit.
   3. Like the barren fig tree of Matt. 21:19ff & Mk. 11: 13ff, it looked good but was fruitless. The Quick Verse Life Application Bible explains: Fig trees, a popular source of inexpensive food in Israel, require three years from the time they are planted until they can bear fruit. Each tree yields a great amount of fruit twice a year, in late spring and in early autumn. This incident occurred early in the spring when the leaves were beginning to bud. The figs normally grow as the leaves fill out, but this tree, though full of leaves, had none. The tree looked promising but offered no fruit.

Jesus' harsh words to the fig tree could be applied to the nation of Israel. Fruitful in appearance only, Israel was spiritually barren.

III The Owner wants fruit

A. This is a frequently appearing metaphor in Scripture, as in Isa. 5; Matt.3 & 7, etc.

B. It is for this "fruit" that the Master will return on the day of judgment.
   1. As in Mt. 21:34 & 43.
   2. As in Lk. 3:8, when John the Baptist scolded the Jewish people for leaves without fruit.
   3. Judgment looms without fruit, as in Lk. 3:9

IV His patience has a limit--Cf. Lk. 13:9

A. As Jesus promised, the Jewish nation has remained until His return.

B. His words of Law & Gospel will never pass away.

C. He expects those who belong to Him to be active in producing fruits of faith until He returns.


Matthew Henry writes: 
We have the application of this prophetic sermon. As
to the destruction of Jerusalem, expect it to come very shortly. As to the end of the world, do not inquire when it will come, for of that day and that hour knoweth no man. Christ, as God, could not be ignorant of anything; but the Divine wisdom which dwelt in our Saviour, communicated itself to his human soul according to the Divine pleasure. 

As to both, our duty is to watch and pray. Our Lord Jesus, when he ascended on high, left something for all his servants to do. We ought to be always upon our watch, in expectation of his return. This applies to Christ's coming to us at our death, as well as to the general judgment. We know not whether our Master will come in the days of youth, or middle age, or old age; but, as soon as we are born, we begin to die, and therefore we must expect death. Our great care must be, that, whenever our Lord comes, he may not find us secure, indulging in ease and sloth, mindless of our work and duty. He says to all, Watch, that you may be found in peace, without spot, and blameless.

Rev. Kelly Bedard's sermon starter is not available due to vacation

Copyright 2000 Ministry Health, LLC 
All Rights Reserved
Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Director

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This page was revised on: Friday, January 20, 2006 12:10:32 PM