Matt. 21:18-22 (Mark 11:12-14) – The Fig Tree is About Hypocrisy, not Israel and the Kingdom

Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14

Some say that this tree represents Israel and points to the kingdom being taken from the Jews and given to the Gentiles. My only problem with that is that the text nowhere supports this idea. That interpretation is a bit shallow and overlooks what the text is actually trying to say. This tree appears to have figs but it does not. So it looks like it is good for food but it is not. Jesus is trying to teach us the importance of faith and the relationship between having faith and bearing fruit. Some people appear to have faith but their lack of fruit demonstrates that they are fit only for cursing.

Jesus has spoken about hypocrisy and will again in a few chapters. The hypocrite is one who appears to have something that he does not have. He appears to have piety and love for God but he really only has selfish concerns and love for himself. He appears to be holy when he is really corrupt. He appears to be a mature child of God when in reality the Lord would say, “I never knew you.” Many times these people have convinced many that they are in the faith, that they are right with God and are on the road to the kingdom. But they are too good as hypocrites because they have not only fooled everyone else, they have even fooled themselves.

Churches are full of people today who think that a mere agreement with the facts about Jesus Christ is enough to save them. We see them come through here, coming forward, getting wet, and then very shortly falling off the face of the earth to us. We have had more than few who came back and sought reconciliation with the church only to fall away again. That is not what biblical salvation is.

The Scriptures teach that salvation, true, biblical salvation, produces a lasting change in the life of a person. They may sin, indeed, they will sin, but they will not fall away for good. How can others identify them? By their fruit. Those who bear no fruit for the kingdom cannot claim membership in the kingdom. Those, however, who demonstrate their faith, are blessed by the Savior and they are given access to God. They see proof of this not only in the fruit they bear but in the answers to prayer that they receive as tokens of God’s grace.


About Michael R. Jones

Pastor and PhD candidate writing on Paul's theology of suffering.
This entry was posted in Fig Tree, Hypocrisy, Israel, Mark, Matthew, Prophecy. Bookmark the permalink.

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