Kicking empty vending machines for love.


 Mark 11: 12-14

“and he said to it, ‘may no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And the disciples heard it” v. 14

Too much desert sun and wind can do funny things to a weary traveler. Andrew and James just stood there in a bit of a daze, not sure what to make of this. Peter, called the others over and whispered, “Uh guys, I think he’s starting to slip, just act natural.” The rest of the guys engage in small talk, pretending not to notice the teacher, who is apparently having a conversation with a tree. Thomas couldn’t help but try to hear what the master was saying. “Guys we should have packed some figs. I knew he liked them, but this has me worried. The master knows they’re not in season, but look at him!” Philip started to hope this was just another set up for a mass feeding. “A few thousand figs from a tree out of season would do us all some good. He’s been acting a bit weird lately. sshhh! Listen. I think he just cursed it. Oh boy, we gotta get him something to eat fast, or we may be next. He’s losing it.” The disciples may have been a bit worried at this point. They knew Jesus was under a lot of pressure, although they didn’t’ quite get what was about to happen the following week. They had seen the teacher from Nazareth do and say some pretty unusual things. But To see him talking, not about, but to a fig tree was just plain weird. To beat that, He was putting a curse on the tree. Why? Because it didn’t have any figs on it. This seems a bit unreasonable, kind of like the guy  who beats up the vending machine because it won’t hand over the chips. Only this is worse, because this wasn’t the season for figs anyway, so it’s more like the guy beating up an empty vending machine in a junk yard, for not handing over the chips. Objectively speaking this looks like a temper tantrum, pure and simple. The only thing worse than someone throwing a tantrum, is the Son of God doing it. A tantrum, with power is a frightening thing! Why is the Prince of peace cursing a tree for being out of season? I mean if he wanted figs that badly, why didn’t he just cause them to appear? There has to be more going on here than this. There usually is with Jesus. He always seems to have more going on than we see on the surface. Was he doing some kind of symbolic thing for his disciples to see? If so what could it mean? Does this tree describe you and me? What’s he looking for? Is he really going to come looking for something from me when I’m not “in season”? Is there some kind of consequence for bearing no fruit when he comes looking for it? But what if I’m not ready when he comes? Why is this whole, “bearing fruit” thing so important to Jesus? I mean you see it all through the Bible. God is always comparing his people to trees, vines, etc. He always seems to favor the trees that bear good fruit, and deal pretty harshly with those that don’t. And he always seems to show up looking for produce at the most inconvenient times. Why can’t he just wait until we’re ready? Can’t he see that we have things to do? It would seem to be more reasonable for God to have prescribed seasons in which we live for him, then give us our own seasons to live for ourselves. But according to this story, and a host of others, he seems to want more than that. One day a week, with Christmas and Easter thrown in would seem reasonable, then we could manage it without too much trouble. We wouldn’t even need his help. Anybody can manage a little religion sprinkled on from time to time. But there’s one thing about the Lord, he’s not very religious. He tends to be a bit unreasonable when it comes to our lives. He shows us at this fig tree that he wants our love in all seasons. It’s unreasonable for the Lord to expect me to be all about him all the time. The only thing more unreasonable is that other tree, the one he would hang on in a few days, to show that he has even greater love for me. Now that’s unreasonable. True love always is.


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