With holy week upon us I can’t help but time-travel to this week in history when Jesus was dawning upon the holy city… headed for the moment where all the universe stood still… it’s heavy on my heart because I know what He is headed towards.
I keep thinking about what Jesus was doing this very moment back then. The gospels give some inside glimpses into what unfurled before the crucifixion.
Upon entering the holy city Jerusalem, we continue reading in Mark chapter 11, where Jesus spots a fig tree.
“The next day when they came out from Bethany, He was hungry. After seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, He went to find out if there was anything on it.”
But as Jesus examines the tree, there are no figs to be found.
“When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:13-14
Jesus rebukes the fig tree.
Jesus is a pure, sinless God abounding in love. So anytime He gets angry reveals something. It’s always directed at darkness.
When I asked God why He rebuked the fig tree He said…
…it wasn’t cut.
Yesterday, everyone around this area of Bethany and Jerusalem was going to get leaf branches to honor Jesus as He entered the holy city. Cutting them from the trees. But this tree still had leaves on it.
Verse 13 says “He found nothing but leaves.”
The palm tree’s leaves were cut.
But nobody cut the fig leaves.
When I think about fig leaves I’m reminded of Genesis chapter 3.
Adam and Eve used fig leaves to cover their nakedness after they ate of the fruit knowing good and evil. The Jews who loved Jesus would have been familiar with that. And probably did not want to use a fig leaves to honor a pure King when fig leaves had been used to cover dishonor in Genesis 3.
Fig leaves were a covering for impurity.
Palm branch leaves signified purity.
Jesus rebukes the fig tree as it symbolizes a curse put on mankind. A curse that originated in the holy garden of Eden. Now He is in the holy city of Jerusalem where a cursed tree resides. But one day there won’t be a cursed tree in the New Jerusalem.
The fig tree represents the exposure to good and evil, and the dichotomy of good and evil itself.
What we know about figs from the Old Testament is there are bad figs and good figs.
Jeremiah chapter 24 says, “The Lord showed me, and there were two baskets of figs set before the temple of the Lord…” (verse 1). Remember, Jesus in the holy city right which symbolizes the temple of the Lord. This is prophetic from Jeremiah. He goes on in verse 3, “Then the Lord said to me, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “Figs, the good figs, very good; and the bad, very bad, which cannot be eaten, they are so bad.”
Figs represent the 2 groups of Jewish people: those who believed Jesus was the Messiah and those who did not. It represents division. Division that should not exist within His Holy people nor in the holy city. So Jesus is enraged upon seeing it.
Jesus has encountered these 2 groups of Jewish people over the past three years of ministering.
Jesus knew the bad figs would crucify Him.
But the good figs would honor Him as King and continue to believe.
Even so, Jesus’ kindness is unending.
He doesn’t turn back and exit Jerusalem. He’s always loving. Always healing. Always looking for ways to take care of His people and vanquish anything that harms them. His heart burns with love for His people no matter what weakness He glimpses.
Jesus does not rebuke the people.
He rebukes the tree… the source… the curse… the contagion.
Jesus came to touch the impure and heal us of every disease. He deeply loves people no matter who we are.
This tree rebuke isn’t about people. This is about the impurities that affect people.
Jesus loves people. And he hates any impure thing that infects us.
Adam and Eve were not created to be broken.
They were created to be perfect. But God knew the only avenue towards perfect holiness was through this life that would filter out the evil and seal us in His perfection forever by His own blood surging out for us. God knew they would eat the fruit.
God already knew what to do about it.
“For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14
Today God said something I think speaks to many out there… “don’t put pressure on yourself. I am perfect. You don’t have to be.” A word for whoever needs it… He loves you. And He is the one who perfects us and refines us more and more without us trying. It comes from being in love with Him. Then will culminate in finality when we meet Jesus face to face one day.
If there is something in your life causing death for you internally, tell Jesus… He will make it wither.
“Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Then Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed is withered.”
I love the disciples’ enthusiasm when they see Jesus move.
His miracles are never small nor understated. Their powerful and worth reveling in.
The disciples never got tired of watching Jesus be Jesus… and do great things. And so they were also prosperous in all they did… because of planting themselves next to Jesus.
I love Jesus’ heart for his disciples and His heart for all people. Because even in knowing what He knows about His Jewish people, He will continue onward into the holy city… to die for both the good figs and the bad figs.
And usher us into a new holy city where there is no withered tree.
No cursed tree.
In the perfect New Jerusalem.
The New Heaven and New Earth.
Perfection will never be attained in this life. But the process of being perfected is real. Sanctification. And it comes through refining.
An uncut fig tree is a tree that is imperfect.
But the palm trees that were cut were perfect for honoring Jesus.
Perfection is not about being perfect. It’s about being willing to grow and learn… and cut when necessary. By God. Who is the perfect gentle one to do that.
“Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”
Flourishing comes from being willing to grow and learn. Over the years I find that being cut by the Lord is a healthy part of growth, extracting the contagions I needed to grow healthier.
Many of us shield our hearts when we hear the word “cutting” or “refinement” because we associate it with harm. I feel God wants you to know… He is not condemning nor corrective. He lets His love do the gardening.
Three days ago on palm sunday, people throughout Jerusalem were cutting leaves from palm trees to take to the entry to honor Jesus this time 2000 years ago… the Messiah whom they loved.
Because love was present, these trees underwent refinement. No one was condemning the Palm trees. Rather, they shed leaves as a byproduct of God’s presence being near.
When Jesus is present in our lives, leaves are shed naturally by His holiness rubbing off on us in various ways through His Holy Spirit. Because of an intimate love relationship. Then we can grow fruits to nurture us on the inside like Galatians 5:22-24 says.
The next year, these trees would likely grow taller than projected because of the refining that took place via Palm Sunday.
If we will not embrace this cutting from the Lord (His teaching, His purity, redirecting, sin extraction) we will never grow. And He is so gentle. Never harsh. Healthiness increases. And we grow stronger in the Lord.
I want to keep growing more… beautify my leaves Lord. 🌿 You can teach me whatever You desire.
God says to you my friends… ♥️ you are beautiful trees that bloom.
It’s like when you go to the gym and you sign up for a workout class. If you sign up for the class, you have to do what the trainer asks even when it hurts. The trainer does not aim to hurt you whatsoever. It’s just an open opportunity given to anybody who wants to get healthy and fit. And to anybody who doesn’t want to take the class, no harm no foul.
So it is with our relationship with Jesus.
If we decide we want to follow Jesus and grow more like Him, we can’t stop when we feel the burn of betterment.
Jesus was grieved when the fig tree wasn’t cut.
I think Jesus is also grieved when we reject the cutting we need in order to grow.
It’s important to remind you: Jesus is not angry at you beloved.
He’s angered at the underlying influences, contagions, temptations, and sins that affect you.
God only cuts us so we can become more fruitful.
I also think about the palm tree leaves that were cut. You know something about palm trees?
They are a tree that annually undergoes cutting when their leaves and branches turn brown and die. So that new ones can grow. What’s intriguing is that this doesn’t have to happen very often. Only about 1-2 times per year.
If the palm tree were to speak up and say they didn’t want that trimming, they would be full of death-probing branches.
Lack of pruning causes infections.
Lack of pruning will keep you stuck in an unhealthy version of yourself.
Embrace the brief pruning and we flourish in beauty.
Jesus will be cut for us… 3 days from now… on Good Friday.
all love spilling out
your blood is abounding
in dirt where you formed me
my heart gushes loudly
I love You
I crown you
my King forever
It’s the most extravagant display of love… for Him to be cut for us instead so we will never have to face that. Because He loves us. Death no longer prevails. ❤︎
Over a week ago I had a dream that speaks of this tree.
In my dream I was in a garage of a house and there was another person with me. There was a car lifted up on a rafter with windows shut. She looked inside and saw the people in it were dead. Then we stepped outside and into the grass. On the other side of the property there was a truck driving in with a large gigantic tree on it… it had pink leaves like cherry blossoms, a ginormous tree and long roots spraying from the trunk. It was beautiful. Filled with fruit and leaves. Driving in to meet us.
I woke up. God said… “you won’t have to wait for this tree to bloom.”
When I was reading about Jesus and the fig tree, I realized the dream applied to this…
The tree is the tree of life.
“Through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His people will worship him.
Jesus had to wait for the figs to be in season for Him to eat them but in Heaven we won’t have to wait. Jesus knew something about the tree of life in the holy city and it grieved him to see how death and brokenness plagues the earth making it sporadically available. He longs that we are taken care of whenever needed.
In the new holy city, there is endless fruits. Endless provision. Endless healing.
Already coming to meet us full of deep roots and vibrant luscious blossoms.
Where there is death, there is the tree of life driving in to meet you.
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
If your hands have brought calamity, the tree of life covers you.
With every curse obliterated and no remembrance of it.
The tree of life brings healing.
The tree of life brings freedom from refinement.
The tree of life brings perfection.
The tree of life brings love.
The tree of life brings closeness with Jesus in person forever.
The tree of life is already in full bloom for you and it always will be.
Endless leaves and endless fruits… 365/24/7… The tree of life was created by God for the holy city Jerusalem and it’s pure beauty and life and delight… that never ends…
In Heaven you won’t have to wait for your tree blossoms to bloom either.
We won’t have to be cut and pruned.
We will be perfect.
With access to Heaven with Him forever.
Blossoming in beauty from His own glory infused into us.
Blossoms of adventure.
Blossoms of blessings.
Blossoms of bliss.
Blossoms of delight.
Blossoms of laughter.
Heaven is amazing…
Heaven is abundantly blossoming with delight from the Lord for us both now and forever. ❤︎
with flowers and more
its leaves bringing healing
come close and you’ll see
its more than you think
for everything touched
by the King
blooms in beauty
“How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.”