Mark 11v12-26 Faith that is fruitless, is not faith at all.
Read Mark 11v12-26
Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts
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.
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’[a]? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”
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.
19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples[c] 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!”
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly[d] I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”  [e]
Big Idea: Faith that is fruitless, is not faith at all.
- Have you ever tried to grow anything, plants, flowers, trees, vegetables? How did you get on?
- If you had put loads of effort in and worked really hard, had followed all the rules and came back after 6 months to see how your plants where get on and they were dead, how would you feel?
Ans: Angry, frustrated, think what the point is, we will just buy them instead, let someone else do the work.
- Why do you think Jesus cursed a fig tree v12-14?
Ans: Doesn’t like figs, as they are disgusting (lol). No, he sees a tree that is dying, a tree that even out of season should show signs of fruit beginning, the tree is dead and should be bearing fruit. A fruit tree that doesn’t grow fruit is dead or dying, so he curses it to speed up the process.
- After being out of Knock for three months and the first day you came back what would you expect to see?
- What does Jesus see when he arrives in the temple courts v15-16?
Ans: Market stalls, with people selling things, money lenders, people selling doves. If you came to Knock and found Nicky Bradley selling cakes, Nicky Jemphrey loaning out money like loan shark, Dave selling drugs (he has that look) and David doing magic shows for money and me selling pizza slices (type cast) you would think that we had gone mad and we would be fired.
- Why does it anger him v15, 17?
Ans: His father house should be a house of prayer, a place of worship, bringing our gifts to God to say thanks for all he has done. Not a market to sell people things on their way to church, to exploit the vulnerable people.
- Jesus reaction to the fig tree and temple are the same why is it and what are meant to learn?
Ans: Both show that there is a lack of fruit, the tree bears no figs, and the temple has become marketplace.
Read John 15 v1-2
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful”
- Why is faith without fruit, not faith at all?
Ans: We are to see that faith without fruit is not faith at all, because if we are connected to Jesus as the true vine, then we will bear fruit. So, if we are not bearing fruit then we are connected, and we do not have faith in Jesus.
- So where do you find hope in the passage v20-25?
Ans: When we see lack of faith and fruit we need to turn to Jesus, he is always the source, the true vine, as we connect to him it, we will bear fruit in our life. Faith in Jesus changes us, he prunes us to make us more fruitful, when we engage Jesus in prayer, pray is powerful because we are connected to the most powerful person in the Universe. Pray is about trusting God to be God and as we connect to him, his love forgives us, and enables us to forgive others who have sinned against us. So, our faith is fruitful.
- What do you take away from this passage, what needs to change as result of reading the passage?
- Take time to pray the truths of this passage.