1st Week of Advent
During this advent season, we watch for the coming birth of our Savior. In Mark 13:28-30 Jesus, himself, speaks of watching for him to return with signs in the heavens. Just as a fig tree signals the beginning of the summer season so too will the coming of Christ have signs preceding it.
Yet in Mark 11:12-14, 20-21, Jesus curses the fig tree for not bearing fruit even though it is out of season for figs. The tree withers and dies.
Often the success of the Israelites is portrayed as a fig tree in the Old Testament. And most central to its success is the Temple, the religious and political hub of the nation. The Temple was the storehouse of tithes, alms and offerings.
So when the fig tree is bursting forth with life, Jesus tells us we can watch for him to come back. But when it does not supply what is needed to the hungry, it will be cursed and wither from the root.
Why is Jesus so disgusted with the fig tree even though he knows it isn’t the time for the harvesting of figs?
While we may watch for signs of Jesus’ coming, just as every year we look with anticipation for the coming nativity, need still remains in the land. And as long as this want continues, the people of God should share the fruits of the Temple to alleviate that hunger, no matter what the season. When that happens perhaps the fig tree will finally be in bloom and Christ will come again.
“Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things happening, you know that he’s near, at the door. I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.” Mark 13:29-31 CEB
Dear Lord, help us as we wait for your return. Help us to be the blooming leaves of the fig tree, feeding those in need, whether spiritually or physically, so that your light would return to this world permanently. We need you more every morning. Help us to watch for your coming. Amen.