Mark 11:12-24 A House Of Prayer For All Nations.
The initial response when reading of this story of the barren fig tree is no doubt to wonder why Jesus would curse it when, as Mark indicates, it was not the season for figs. However, the moral of the story is a spiritual one. When they return by the tree and find it withered, the lesson given is in having faith. Is it faith to go about unjustly cursing things? No. The lesson is that faith can achieve what is seemingly impossible. The natural trajectory of the fig tree was that after it sprouted leaves fruit would follow. Jesus reversed this natural trajectory through an act of faith. Sandwiched between this before and after was the act of Jesus cleansing the temple.
This was also an act of faith, reversing the natural trajectory of sinful rebellion that infected the covenant people. Faith would have made it a house of prayer for all nations – grace looking beyond the immediate covenantal borders was always the LORD’s great plan. Instead the people were dying within, religion was used as a means only for financial gain, while the people were held in the bondage of sin. Jesus did not proclaim a new thing when he said that his Father’s house was to be “a house of prayer for all nations” (v. 17; Is. 56:7; Jer. 7:11), he simply came to see it fulfill its true purpose, to which the two prophetic witnesses testify.