A couple of days ago as I was reading my bible, I came across a passage on the fig tree that sounded so familiar and reminded me of one of Paul's letters in the book of Corinthians. The circumstances surrounding the fig tree and how Jesus responded to it has always left me puzzled. It made sense that He cursed the Fig tree because it was deceiving, but I could not connect the tree to His response about prayer and forgiveness. As I explain further, I hope you will be as blessed as I am, with how these seemingly 3 different passages coordinate.
According to Mark chapter 11, it was the morning after Jesus’ triumph entry in Jerusalem on a donkey, as they came out of Bethany back to Jerusalem, that He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves He went to see if perhaps He could find something on it. But when He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs, and in His response Jesus said “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And then Peter on the next day saw the tree had withered, remembering, he mentioned it to Jesus, to which He replied, “Have faith in God.” From verse 22. 'For assuredly, as I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.’ And He proceeds to say ‘and whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive your trespasses. But if you do not forgive neither will your father in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Sounded like a different response to a fig tree right? But wow, did you notice that? The Lord’s prayer in the passage? Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespassed against us. Maybe this will help us see what I could not see. Paul in second book of Corinthians chapter 5, he begins to explain how we, as having to die with Christ (Baptism), are no longer to regard each other according to the flesh. If One died for all, then all died, and He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again, says verses 14-15. But it is what he says next that captured my heart, and I will quote from the New Living Translation as it helped me have a clearer understanding, as he talks about ministering to one another.
In verse 12 he says, ‘We are giving you a reason to be proud of us, so you can answer those who brag about having a spectacular ministry rather than having a sincere heart.’ And he continues to explain that after Christ, all things are a new creation, now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Wow, I am not sure how many of us knew that our first ministry from baptism is reconciliation, I didn’t. And that includes reconciling with those who wronged us or the other way round, and reconciling people to Jesus Christ, for this (reconciliation), together with believing in God, with no doubt in us, is the key to having our prayers answered.
The fig tree is the spectacular ministry, maintaining beautiful leaves on the outside, having a form of godliness, but denying His power, His sincere heart. I was also wondering why reconciliation as the first task, and I began to think how true reconciliation brings out the truth, it brings out accountability and ultimately it is the beginning of healing. We forgive trespasses, as God forgives ours. With reconciliation we no longer have to look "fine," we get the chance to heal the soul and look like what we truly are, known by our fruits(Mat 7:15-16). All this is necessary in order for Him to be our God in truth and in righteousness, that we may be found blameless before His eyes when we come to Him with our petitions. Like me, you may be wondering if at all there is someone you need to make peace with, someone in your past or anyone’s heart you need to revisit, but are not sure where to start from, or even how to find them. You may start by asking God to bring to light everything hidden in your heart that you cannot see, or have worked so hard to forget, and ask Him to create a place in your heart for truth and reconciliation, and that He may also create a situation where this reconciliation may happen while you can, and whilst there’s still time. Believe in God. His heart is more than willing to help you, He will equip you with all the strength and courage needed even for a difficult conversation, all for His reconciliation ministry and He will make it happen for you. Have faith in God, Jesus says. If He can move mountains for you He surely can help you in your ministry.
I hope you are as blessed as I am by His word. Amen