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I’m reading through the gospel of Mark for my morning devotion time. This morning I got to chapter 11 something struck me as incident of the fig tree being cursed. (v 13-14) Something clicked together with what I had already been reading in Mark. I got a feeling of what the emotional impact must have been of what Jesus KNEW about what was going to happen to the nation of Judah. He understood, both that he was the fulfillment of all their hopes and the crushing of their dearest dream. They were looking for a messiah, a king the lead them in restoring Israel to its promised place, to make it free and secure and respected among the nations. He knew that He was bringing them something better than they envisioned, securing their place in an eternal, perfect kingdom of God rather than securing for them a temporary and flawed kingdom of men. But He know that many or even most would not see it that way and would not take hold of the new gift. They would be left with only strict promises of of the original contract but without any new work of the Holy Spirit to give them fresh purpose.
This gives me a new perspective on the story of the Syrophoenician woman (Mark 7:24-31). It reminds me of a mother making sure her oldest child get extra attention when a new baby is just around the corner. God does have unlimited attention and unlimited gifts available. And all the new gifts of that came with Jesus’s resurrection would be available to the jew equally with the Gentiles. But tjew had some illusions, similar to a very young only child who might equate being special and being fully love with being the only one mommy carries or the only one that daddy plays choo choo train with. And those illusions are about to be shattered. Jesus is a Jew and He loves the Jewish people and the Jewish nation. He knows that they are not going to get what they picture in a Messiah. He foresees that many will not understand or accept the greater gift He is giving them. how distressing it must be to Jesus as He see the distress coming up for Israel. Having just been hailed as the messiah in Jerusalem, on His way to cleanse the temple, He curses a fig tree for not bearing fruit. He knew this wasn’t the time for it to bear fruit but he still hungered for that fruit.
I get the sense that even when God knows we’re not going to do the right thing, when he knows that in our willfulness and self absorption we are going to wander from his commands and get ourselves hurt, he still hungers for that fruit we would bear if we were mature. He want to warn us that without Him in our lives there is no life, just a death a stricken tree.
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