LIBERATION FROM HYPOCRISY

The parable of the fig tree, as recorded in Matthew's Gospel, affords some very helpful lessons. Because of the healing that Jesus had done in Jerusalem many were rejoicing. Even the children in the temple were crying out, "Hosanna to the son of David" (Matt. 21:15). But the chief priests and scribes were sore displeased. So Jesus withdrew from the confusing thoughts of blandishment and censure and went to Bethany, a place familiar to him, where he had probably spent many peaceful hours communing with the Father.

In the morning when he "returned into the city," we read, "he hungered" (Matt. 21:18). In the distance he saw a fig tree, on which there should have been figs because leaves were found thereon. One Bible commentary says regarding this passage: "It is the peculiarity of the fig tree that its fruit appears and is well developed before there is any sign of leaves. When, therefore, leaves appear on a fig tree, ripe fruit may justly be expected. The fault of the fig tree, therefore, was not that it had no fruit, which was not to be expected at that season, but that it pretended to have it, and had not" (Dummelow's Bible Commentary). Jesus, perceiving the lack of fruit, said unto the tree, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever." And we read that "presently the fig tree withered away."

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"LOVEST THOU ME?"
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