The FIG TREE
We received the following question:
Can you give me any insight into the parable of the fig tree? just briefly, what would you say was the basic lesson He was teaching the disciples?
In Matt 24, in the context of the end of the age, Jesus has described various things that would be associated with the end of the age - and He then says that they are as sure to come - and as imminent (at that time) - as when you see the fig tree leafing, you KNOW that summer is SURELY right around the corner !
In Luke 13, vs 6 ff must be taken with v.5. Unless you repent you shall perish - in that context the parable of the fig tree deals with the fruitlessness - repentance is necessary to become fruitful. Failure to repent >> continued fruitlessness > barrenness > death.
In Matthew 21:18.. is a difficult passage. There are two parts. First, concerning the condemning of the tree, it is important to note that the tree was NOT doing what it was supposed to be doing. The fig tree is supposed to bring forth figs. THIS fig tree only brought forth leaves. Judgment will be upon those who bear NO fruit. ALL believers are to bear fruit - e.g. the Spirit abides in us, and the fruit of the Spirit is...Gal. 5:22-23. He who has not the Spirit of God is none of His. So a person who has NO fruit would appear to be an unbeliever who abides under the wrath of God and faces God's judgment.
As to the second part, I have my own ideas about this. Jesus is obviously (to me, anyway) not teaching about physical power to command mountains, etc. I believe His concern is to teach His disciples deep spiritual truths and so we should look for spiritual meaning here. To pronounce judgment on one who is already condemned (he who has not the Son has not life...) isn't really all that spectacular, but greater works shall they do - what might that be? To proclaim the Gospel which is the POWER of God unto salvation - this is FAR greater - to see the power of converting a condemned soul from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His dear Son (Col. 1) is a FAR greater work than pronouncing judgment on those who are already condemned.