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Mark 11:12-26

Talks for Growing Christians

The Cursing of the Fig Tree and the Cleansing of the Temple

Mark 11:12-26

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Lesson Number 47

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. Israel's history is pictured by the fig tree.

Practical Application

  1. By faith we can see certain mountains removed.

Questions

  1. What do the buds of a fig tree indicate?
  2. Who were the money changers? What did they do? Why did the Lord denounce them?
  3. How is the fig tree a picture of Israel's history?
  4. What did John the Baptist mean about the ax laid to the root of the tree? See Matthew 3:10. Was this prophetic?
  5. What is the good news about the nation of Israel?
  6. What is the meaning of the mountain in Mark 11:23? What did this say to the disciples What does it say to us?
  7. Why was the fig tree cut down? What is the Lord's promise here?

Answers

  1. They are edible as early fruit in the spring, and they indicate the summer harvest.
  2. They took in money from all over the Roman Empire and exchanged it for local coinage. They took advantage of people and made a good profit for themselves. Jesus denounced them because the money changing was done in the name of worshipping God, so the people could pay the temple tax and buy sacrifices. But it wasn't worship; it was business transacted in the Lord's house, which should have been a place of prayer.
  3. The fig tree represents Israel, and it is likened to a fig tree in both the Old Testament (Hosea 9:10) and the New Testament (Luke 13:6-7). The three years mean the Lord's ministry on earth. The tree didn't bear fruit, but only "religious" leaves. Therefore, it will be cut down and set aside. In the cursing of the fig tree we see God's dealing with Israel. The Lord looked for fruit, but found none (John 1:11). He found leaves, but no fruit. There is a lot of religious activity and lip service, but no fruit.
  4. Israel was cut down and removed from the place of privilege. Yes, in 70 A.D., the temple was destroyed and the nation of Israel was scattered.
  5. There will be a return of the nation Israel to the place of privilege.
  6. The mountain was a barrier to the Lord's on-going ministry and program, and therefore, removed. These kinds of mountains can be removed. When we face barriers to the Lord's work, we can remove them. How? By praying in faith and not doubting.
  7. So the Lord's program could be realized and the gospel go out into the whole world. If we confront some obstacle or barrier to the work of the Lord, by praying in faith we can see that mountain removed.

Discuss/Consider

  1. Why should you keep your eyes on Israel? What do you see of historic and spiritual significance currently happening in Israel?
  2. How great is your faith in God? Do you pray believing?

Challenge

  1. Are there mountains in your life right now? What are they? Which ones are a barrier to the work of the Lord? How can you see them removed?

Key Verses

  • "Jesus said, 'Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed...' and does not doubt in his heart...it will be done. Whatsoever things you ask when you pray, believe that you will received them, and you will." (Mark 11:22-24)

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