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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood



The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 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. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12-14, NIV)

This is the only time in Mark’s Gospel when Jesus is described as being hungry. It attests to His humanity. He had been angry on occasion, but now He was hungry. The One who fed crowds of 5,000 and 4,000 himself was hungry! Amazing!

Even when Jesus miraculously multiplies bread and fish, He makes no food for himself. In fact, never does He do a miracle for His own personal benefit. It’s always for others.

What an example for us — that we live out our lives in self-giving and not in self-serving!

Had Jesus’ hosts failed to provide Him breakfast? Or, perhaps they had and He had lingered through the morning at Bethany and set out just before noon without having lunch.

Today Jesus has a different kind of hunger. Now, in heaven, He hungers for the fellowship and love of His people. He longs for you and me to draw close to Him.

Jesus turns toward a fig tree to assuage His hunger. It is fascinating that a day earlier He knew that a colt was tied at a doorway and sent His disciples to fetch it. But, in this instance, He apparently does not know whether the fig tree has fruit.

It’s a most perplexing text. On the one hand, Jesus surely knows that it was not the season for figs. Why then did He even bother to check it for fruit? Various reasons have been offered — including the idea that a fig tree in leaf, if it was going to bear fruit, already had small fig buds. The analogy would be that of an apple tree with small, sour, unripe apples needing further maturation. The premature fig, like the apple, would be bitter to the taste but could be edible.

On the other hand, since the text says Jesus was hungry, it doesn’t make sense that He would be looking for a sour fig to satisfy His hunger.

When a fig tree was in leaf but did not have premature figs, then that fact meant the tree would have no fruit in that particular year.

The Danish theologian Soren Kierkegaard used this text to illustrate the danger of the profession of “leaves” without the evidence in the “fruit” of a Christlike life. What good is the appearance of being a follower of Jesus without the evidence of godly character and choices?

Could the Lord have used His hunger not to fulfill His own human need, but to give us a vital life lesson instead? The unfruitful tree becomes a sign for us that He comes looking for fruitfulness in our lives. He has a deeper hunger than for food.

Replace the fig tree with yourself. Imagine Jesus is hungry — hungry for your presence, your praise, your friendship, your service. He comes personally to you looking for you to satisfy His hunger. What will He find? Leaves with or without fruit?

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, I am hungry for many things — some of which will only be satisfied on the other side. But above and beyond my hunger is Your hunger for me. May my life deeply satisfy You!

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

Previous Years

2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

Podcasts of On Your Mark are available in video and audio.
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