Todays readings… 1 Kings 13, Jeremiah 39, Mark 13
“FROM THE FIG TREE LEARN IT’S LESSON”
In todays’ 13th chapter of Mark we encounter the thought challenging words of Jesus that believers should “From the fig tree learn its lesson” [v.28] This first takes our thoughts to Joel’s prophecy, “….a nation has come up against my land … It has laid waste my vine and splintered my fig tree.” [1 v.6,7] This reveals that Israel is God’s “fig tree.” So what “lesson” should we “learn”?
Jesus says “as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.” [v.28,29] The next verse (30) is particularly challenging “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place.”
Well, the generation that heard Jesus say this – experienced the destruction of the fig tree when the Romans destroyed the Temple and scattered the Jews nearly 40 years later. But now God’s fig tree has come into bloom again! It was reborn in 1948 , 69 years ago! We recall the comment in the Psalms that “The years of our life are seventy” [90 v.10] But the fig tree of “this generation” is not yet producing the fruit of belief in God. But the point Jesus particularly makes is that “the generation” of “the fig tree” will “learn” a “lesson” as they see “all these things take place.”
It is rather remarkable that from the establishment of the Zionist movement by Theodore Herzl in 1897 – it was exactly 70 years to when the Jews captured Jerusalem in 1967 and made it their capital. So what are we to anticipate when 70 years are completed from when the Jews established their nation in 1948?
Only time will answer that question – but words of warning arise in our hearts, we must not be obsessed by dates (while taking note of them) but we must make sure we are really drawing near to Jesus and the Father, so much so that “Christ is formed in” us. See Gal. 4 v.19 – and he will recognise and accept us when he comes – and if we will “learn the lesson ….from the fig tree” we cannot help but be in increasing anticipation that our faith will soon be turned to sight!
But until then “we walk by faith, not by sight.” [2 Cor. 5 v.7] but we surely will walk with a firmer and surer step! And we will need to, for Jesus also said, “For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation” [v.19] – and while this had an initial application to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 – v.24-26 show they are followed by the sight of “the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”