Our church service includes a lot of Scripture reading.
There is an Old Testament reading followed by a New Testament. And then there is a Gospel reading.
All of which connect to and relate to the sermon’s Scripture passage.
It’s done for a variety of reasons I imagine, one of which is that it shows the continuity and connection of Scripture to Scripture. Most people tend to view the Bible in two distinct parts, Old and New, as if they have no real relation to each other. The OT gives the history and was for the Israelites but does not have much for us modern day believers. That’s what the NT is for.
But through Christ we have become the new Israel so it all matters. But none of that is what I want you to ponder with me. It was just more by way of introduction.
You know how you can hear or read a passage of Scripture that you are familiar with but it’s like you’ve never heard it before? That happened to me a few weeks ago.
For his sermon Rob read Mark chapter ten all the way through chapter fifteen. It was quite profound to hear so much of the Easter story that is usually truncated or chopped up told in one reading.
This is what I have been thinking about ~ in chapter eleven verse twelve we read this:
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
This is what stood out to me as if I had never heard it before:
When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
He cursed the tree and it withered down to its roots because there was no fruit. But it wasn’t even the season for it to have fruit. Yet, He still cursed it.
That just brought me up short and I was left blinking and rereading it.
What does that do to all of our excuses? What does that do to our ideas about just living a good life? Is it enough that our kids only listen to Christian music and we go to church every Sunday and we do all the right things?
I’m not a scholar and I know this passage is directly connected to the destruction of the temple but it has still tilted my world a little.
The tree was doing all the right things according to nature. It had nice green leaves and was clicking right along with the schedule. But Christ looked for fruit anyway and there was a judgement pronounced when none was found.
The Christian life seems to be about a whole lot more than just the things we do or don’t do. More than just being good people. There is a fruit that is expected to be cultivated for His good pleasure and when it’s not there He seems to take it pretty seriously.
It has definitely given me something to ponder.