The Lesson of the Fig Tree
29 And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near.31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Things change. We all know that. We can resist it but it still happens. Some change is for the better and we anticipate it with great hope and yet even the most desired change is not without its difficulties.
Yesterday it snowed in my city. It was our first big snowfall of the season. While on November 17 it is not usual to get snow, I think it was the rapidness of Winter's arrival that surprised us. We felt the coldness of the season and now we saw the snow and knew that Winter is already near. This is much like this verse: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. We can see for ourselves and know. See. for. ourselves. When change happens it's almost like we need to see for ourselves to believe it. When I looked out the window this morning, I sighed and I told my husband and he came to look too. When Conrad made sure the kids were up and getting ready, they had to check out the winter view too. We seem to need to see it for ourselves to believe it.
Now let’s move secondly to a specific application. What’s the point of this simple analogy? Here it is, verse 31, “Even so, you also, or you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that the Kingdom of God is near.” Hey, I get it, do you get it? When you see these things happening, you know that the coming of the Kingdom is near, just like when you see the leaves you know that summer is near. It’s nothing more than that.
But the question that strikes me first is who is “you” here? When you see these things happen. Who is you? Well it has to be the people who see these things happen. Right? And then we have to ask, what are these things? And that takes you back to verse 20, the surrounding of Jerusalem by armies which triggers the great Tribulation. The signs in the sun, the moon, the stars, on the earth, the roaring of the sea and the waves, the powers of the heavens shaken, people in dismay, perplexity, dying from fear and expectation of what is coming...when you see those things, you then jumps all the way to those people who are believers in Christ who belong to Christ who are Christ’s people living in the time when those signs take place. The disciples are only symbolic of those people. They are only representative of that future group of people. You, meaning you believers, who are alive when you see these things happen. What the Lord is saying is, it’s going to come very fast.Change often sneaks up on us. Sometimes it's abrupt but often change is slow and it's not easily noticed such as the changes from season to season. Even the gradual growing up of our children is not an overnight change...although it sometimes feels like that when they reach a new milestone and the time before that seems so short. Yesterday morning, in that first snowfall of the season, my oldest drove to school for a drama dress rehearsal and man that change did seem abrupt! and did seem to come very fast!
What will that change be like when Jesus does fulfil the prophecy of returning. He did tell us that He would. He did tell us that we need to be ready for it. He did tell us that my words will not pass away. That change of God's design is coming. The signs are there.
What’s the point? The point is simply this. You were saved by the living and abiding Word. It will not fail in your salvation. It does not fail to save, nor will it fail in your glorification. The Word of God is the same true abiding unassailable, unchanging truth when it speaks of the future as when it speaks of the present or of the past. You were saved through the living and abiding Word and you will be brought to glory through that same living abiding Word. Whatever God says is absolutely the way it is, whether He speaks of salvation, or sanctification, or glorification. And we look forward to the unfolding of this.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Luke 21:34-36
Reminds me of the phrase "God said it, I believe it, that settles it."
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