Out with the Old, In with the New!


            Now in the morning, as he returned to the city, he felt hungry.  And he saw a fig tree by the road, and came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.”  Immediately the fig tree withered away.

            And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, and said, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”  So he answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.  And whatsoever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive” (Mathew 21: 18-22.)


            Jesus had just finished clearing out the temple.  He had overturned the tables of the merchants buying and selling there, and chased them out with a whip.  As he traveled along the road the tree he saw became a symbol of the nation of Israel.  Jesus being God, checked the tree for fruit, just as God made Israel a tree in the midst of the nations which was supposed to be fruitful.  But both the tree and Israel were unfruitful.  Not only was Israel unfruitful, they had actually become an obstacle that blocked the way for others who wanted to know God.  They teased passers-by with what looked like Godliness; they had a temple, they had priests, they had the scriptures.  What appeared to be living, upon closer inspection, was actually dead; those in positions of authority were evil.  Jesus went on to describe how faith can move mountains.  Mountains are obstacles.  There are often obstacles that stand between God and man.  In this case it was the evil and corrupt priests and religious leaders.  But sin in general is what separates a person from God.  Blood sacrifices at the temple were needed to atone for sin.  Jesus came to put an end to that particular obstacle, once and for all.  When he died, the temple was no longer needed; nor the corrupt priests who offered sacrifices there.  Instead, anyone who wished to know God could do so through Jesus Christ.  In this scripture, the disciples ask how the fig tree was withered?  The answer is faith; faith in God and not in man.  How can obstacles be removed; they are removed by what God has done and not what we can do for God; by his power mountains are thrown away like pebbles.  By his power sin has been removed for those who believe in the Son of God.

            In the 20th century, the capability to replace organs was realized; in fact it is fairly common today.  Across the country, thousands of people are born with defective hearts; hearts that don’t function the way they are supposed to.  There are two steps to a transplant; the removal of the old heart, and the introduction of the new heart.  The old heart is the obstacle standing between the new heart and its owner.  Without that new heart, death is certain.  God, in his wisdom, removed the old covenant; the religious leaders; the temple they prided themselves on; the animal sacrifices, and the dietary laws.  He replaced those obstacles with Jesus Christ, and the new covenant marked by his body and blood.  No longer could a person be forgiven outside of God’s provision.  Man has never been able to keep God’s commandments.  The old way that relied upon adherence to rules and regulation by man was inferior; man was so fallen he lacked the power to obey.  God did with Jesus Christ in one day, what man was unable to accomplish in 1500 years under the law.  At the crucifix the sins of those who would believe were washed away.

            Today, we all have things in our lives that are dead.  There are parts of us that aren’t functioning properly.  These are the things that are coming in between us and God.  They hinder our usefulness to Him and cause us harm.  God is more than willing to take them away, but we must be willing to let them go.  For some it is an ungodly relationship, for some it is money; it could be pornography, or laziness, or a career, or food, or anything else that is not pleasing to God.  Ask him in prayer to remove these things, and let him work; and don’t give up asking, and whatever you ask for you will receive; and you will grow and be fruitful.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and ask that You would take away our vices Lord.  Prune us, and make us bear fruit for You.  Take away what is dead in us and replace it with what is alive.  Father, we want nothing to come between us.  We don’t want one barrier left to separate us from You.  By the power of the blood of Jesus, we ask that all obstacles be removed from between us.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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