And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.…
I. THE FIG-TREE FLOURISHING.
1. Its nature, not a common thistle, from which men do not think to gather figs (Matthew 7:16). But a fruit-bearing tree.
2. Its situation. By the wayside, provoking attention, and inviting inspection. Such human trees are often more anxious to be noticed than the really fruitful.
3. Its appearance. Covered with leaves. Therefore (ver. 19) fruit might be reasonably expected. It made a fair show and a bold promise. Do we in any wise resemble this tree?
II. THE FIG-TREE EXAMINED.
1. The Lord was hungry — He needed fruit. He needs our fruitfulness.
2. It was seasonable as respects the tree. It outrivalled and surpassed the rest in forwardness — ITS time of figs had come.
3. It was carefully conducted; not a casual and distant glance. He knew without going, but went to show His care and awaken thought.
III. THE FIG-TREE WITHERED.
1. Its leaves did not save it. Profession without reality there may be; but there will not long be reality without profession.
2. The Lord cursed it to show how hypocrisy deserves to be treated. By such the world is apt to be deceived, touching the nature of religion. Many have the form of godliness who deny the power. Their end is nigh.
3. Those who persevere in hypocrisy may be bereft of the power of producing fruit. Hypocritical and perfunctory habits destroy this power. Thus spiritual life withers away.Learn: —
1. To be thankful that we are fruit-trees, not thistles.
2. To be anxious to be fruitful fruit-trees (Galatians 5:22; Ephesians 5:9).
3. It is time for fruit directly the leaves begin to spring. With us NOW.
(J. C. Gray.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.