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Where Is The Fruit?

Mark My Words  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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IMAGE: Box of donuts filled with prunes (or something gross)
Where’s the beef commercial???
Mark 11:
NEED: Have you ever seen something that looked good on the outside, but wasn’t what it seemed? Have you ever met someone who wasn’t what they seemed? Sometimes a person who is really gruff or antisocial can be a really great friend to have they just seem rough on the outside…and sometimes those really outgoing people are shallow and not really great friends.
SUBJECT: So what about you? Are you what you seem to the world around you? If you were a tree, what kind of fruit would you bear? Sweet good tasting fruit, or rotten fruit...
TEXT: Mark 11:1-21
INTRO: Mark is broken up into three acts.
Mark is broken up into three acts.
1. Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, which is where we have spent most of our time. (the Good News, healings, establishing God’s Kingdom on earth)
2. Jesus is on the way to Jerusalem (a movement towards something)
3. Jesus in Jerusalem (basically, the last week before He is crucified)
Last week we saw Jesus on the way to Jerusalem, He dealt with unbelief and arrogance. The dad believed in Jesus but he didn’t fully trust Him. The disciples hung out with Jesus but they still weren’t really sure what was happening. They argued over who would be more important in Jesus’ coming kingdom… we will see tonight that the disciples were not the only ones who were expecting a different kind of kingdom.
2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here.
(two slides: 1-7 then 8-11 on next slide)
3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ”
4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 
Mark 11:1–11 NIV
1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’ ” 4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
5 some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 
6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go. 
7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 
8 Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 
9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
Jesus rides into town on a donkey and everyone is going nuts! We celebrate this event as Palm Sunday…which was only a few weeks ago so this text is pretty self explanatory.
They are jumping up and down because Jesus has come to town to finally free them after hundreds of years of oppression, the Messiah has come to restore Israel to her former glory and splendor among the nations, right? Isn’t that what Jesus came to do?
It’s interesting to me that they are quoting that psalm as if they are expecting a military victory says save us! Give us success! They are expecting success, they are expecting Jesus to come after Rome… but it’s getting late so He heads to Bethany for the night.
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12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 
Mark 11:12–14 NIV
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 
14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”And his disciples heard him say it.
So Jesus gets up to leave Bethany and is hungry, He walks over to a fig tree and the tree has no fruit. Why didn’t the tree have fruit? (hint, see vs. 13)
So it’s not the season for figs, and Jesus gets mad a the tree for not having food when it’s not in season?!? Does that strike anyone else as odd? Why is Jesus being so hard on the tree when it’s not in season? The tree is obviously not dead. It’s full of leaves, it probably looked really nice, lush full leaves…but no fruit.
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The way fig trees work, is that before the figs grow, they grow bulbs that are like figs that you wouldn’t eat, this gets the leaves and branches ready for the figs that will come later on in the season. This tree had no fruit, meaning that it would not produce during the harvest. The tree looks healthy from a distance, but up close it’s not fulfilling its designed purpose. So Jesus curses the tree, because it was not fulfilling it’s designed purpose…
Mark 11:
Mark 11:15–17 NIV
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 
17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’ [11:17 ] ? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ [11:17 ]”
The temple was full of people, and it was probably bursting at the seems during passover week. The temple in that day wasn’t like a church as we think of it, it was more like a bank or a hub for business. People stored their money in the temple, they traded money for proper offerings to God, they came there to have their sins atoned for there was lots to be done around the temple during passover. No one wants to be unclean during passover, no one wants to miss out on the biggest party of the year, right?
There is only one problem, while the temple is full of people and looks really healthy on the outside, upon further examination its not fulfilling its purpose. The people running the temple were not honoring God’s design for His temple.
Where was all of this going on? (the outer courts) and what was supposed to be going on in the outer courts? Anyone know? () Gentiles were not allowed in the temple, they were not God’s chosen people…but God doesn’t turn away anyone who seeks Him and obeys His commands.
The outer court was for the gentile believers to interact with God. But there was no room for them with all the hustle and bustle of the money changers and business transactions going on. Lots of activity or busyness - no life.
And Jesus rebukes the temple leaders and their practices because (among many things) they have robbed the gentile believers of their rightful place in the outer court, they have taken away their space to interact with God. And Jesus is fed up.
It’s interesting that after He shuts down the trading in the temple, He sits down and teaches the people…almost like He is taking the place of what was happening in the temple before...
Mark 11:18 NIV
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
I know this is a lot to cover, but what was the crowd expecting Jesus to do? Go after Rome, how do you think they felt when He went after the temple instead? Imagine the confusion for a minute. The temple was what Jewish life revolved around. He wasn’t supposed to attack the temple leaders, He was supposed to free them! And they have had enough of Jesus now, it was time to do away with Him once and for all.
Mark 11:19- When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 
Mark 11:19–21 NIV
19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
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When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 
21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
Imagine that, the fig tree withered and died. This is a miracle because it takes a while for a tree to die, trees never go from looking amazing and full of life to dead the next day…it takes time. But the tree that Jesus cursed, is dead.
Why?
I believe this is a living parable for the disciples to see, and the parable is so much bigger than a single fig tree. What else did Jesus curse in this passage? (the temple practices/leadership) So what message do you think Jesus is trying to send?
If you go to Jesus spells it out a little more -
(Read Josephus if time)
Jesus is illustrating that the temple, and it’s practices are going away, this thing that Jesus came to do would replace all of that. A day was coming where man and God would be in unbroken fellowship, we don’t need an outer court anymore I have access to God right here, right now.
Ever heard the Scripture “this is the day the Lord has made… I will rejoice and be glad in it?” Also . The Jews misunderstood and fought so hard to keep what God was trying to free them from. They literally quoted that Scripture when Jesus rode into town and when He turned His attention to the temple and not Rome they couldn’t handle it.
Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man once and for all, and the Jews were so blinded by their own agendas that they missed it.
So what does this mean for us? I’m not Jewish and I wasn’t alive when all of this happened so what does it have to do with me?
I’m not Jewish and I wasn’t alive when all of this happened so what does it have to do with me?
Let me ask you a question, what sort of fruit are you bearing? You may look like you have it all figured out on the outside, but is there fruit? Or do you have a lot of religious busyness with no life?
The Pharisees and temple leadership lacked fruit, they followed all of these rituals but missed God’s heart by a mile. (, )
What sort of fruit do you think God wants us to bear? (justice and mercy, in humility)
Big Idea: Just because something or someone looks healthy on the outside doesn’t mean they are right with God, and just because someone is a hot mess doesn’t mean that their heart is not right with God.
Looks can be deceiving, desires can be deceiving, but a good test for us is to evaluate our thoughts and actions and ask ourselves are we seeking justice and do we love mercy. Or do we only care if it affects my daily life.
Are we okay with the injustice we see all around us as long as it doesn’t directly affect us? Or do we speak up for the voiceless, do we show mercy like we have been shown mercy. Or do we look really good on the outside and have everyone fooled? Because Jesus isn’t looking for the leaves, He looks deeper and sees through to our hearts.
If you claim Jesus as Lord, where’s the fruit? Are you what you seem? Or are you a box of donuts filled with prunes?
What fruit are you bearing?
What is justice according to the Bible?
When is the last time you showed mercy or were shown mercy?
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