Hello podcast fans! Do you remember that TV commercial advertising a Snickers
candy bar, the one with the tagline, “You’re not you when you’re hungry?” It’s the
commercial where a dilemma is solved by eating a Snickers candy bar. Well, this is
Angie, and when I read today’s passage in Mark 11, verse 12-26, I couldn’t help
but think about that commercial and wonder if Jesus was hangry in these
passages – you know, that mix of being hungry and angry that apparently only a
Snickers bar can fix?
There are only a few times in scripture where our Lord becomes angry, and
today’s passage is one of those times. Note that he did not sin in his anger. His
righteous anger cut to the quick about the misdeeds that were happening.
Hangry situation #1:
As Jesus and his disciples walked from Bethany to Jerusalem, they passed a fig
tree. Jesus stopped to grab some fruit for breakfast, as the tree was full of leaves,
which meant it should be showing fruit. But there were no figs found on the tree.
In response, Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” Hello! That
feels a little extreme! Was he really that mad just because he didn’t get any
breakfast fruit? In Jesus customary way, the meaning behind the gesture was
much deeper than the surface displayed.
One commentary explained, “The tree was cursed for its pretense of leaves, not
for its lack of fruit. Like Israel in the days of Jesus, it had the outward form but no
fruit. In this picture, Jesus warned Israel – and us – of God’s displeasure when we
have the appearance of fruit but not the fruit itself. God isn’t pleased when His
people are all leaves and bear no fruit.”
In essence, Jesus came to the Jewish nation looking for spiritual fruit, but in spite
of all its outward signs of religion, it was only a facade. It was clear the Jewish
people knew how to perform religious rituals, but they were not producing any
Jesus was hangry for good reason, and we would be wise to note his frustration.
We must be careful that we “walk the talk” when it comes to our faith. Otherwise,
we will look more like the fake plastic fruit I used to see on the dining room table
at my grandma’s house, and less like the spiritual fruit that should permeate from
the very core of our faith.
Unlike another commercial, this one from the 80’s: Jesus wasn’t saying, “where’s
the beef? He was asking, “where’s the fruit?”
Hangry Situation #2
Scripture says: they came to Jerusalem, and Jesus went into the Temple and
began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the
money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and would not permit
anyone to carry goods through the temple.
Yowzers! Now it seems like Jesus might need multiple snickers bars! What
happened to cause this powerful display of fury?
Pastor David McFadden said, “God's people had lost their sense of perspective.
Rather than looking on the temple as something through which they could serve
God, they had come to look on the temple as something that existed to serve
them. This was true of both the leadership and the common people. Jesus was
angry because the people of God had come to believe the temple existed only to
serve their needs, rather than to enable them to serve God. The Jews had gotten
so wrapped up in their temple activities that the very place where Gentiles were
supposed to meet with God was instead filled with Jews who were buying and
selling animals for sacrifice and exchanging money to pay the temple tax.
Somehow, in the midst of all their temple activity, God's people had lost their
sense of purpose.”
On their own, these two hangry instances are difficult to understand, but together
these two events explain each other. The temple had the same problem that the
fig tree had: leafy from a distance, but no fruit inside. In both instances, people
were not fulfilling their God ordained roles and Jesus was not happy about their
heart posture. They were sinful and wicked, not fruitful and God-honoring.
We must guard against being people who outwardly act like we love the Lord, but
are in reality not bearing any spiritual fruit. Are we exhibiting the fruit of the
Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and
self-control? Are we helping those in need, leading the lost to Christ, seeking Him
with our whole heart, mind, body, soul? Where’s the fruit?
Jesus is reminding all of us that living a fruitful life is not optional. It’s a divine
command. Let’s all pause and consider where we lack fruit in our lives and then
boldly chase after it, and maybe eat a snickers bar or two along the way. Amen