Fate of the Fruitless

We have a valuable lesson in Mark 11:11-14: “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when He had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, He went out unto Bethany with the twelve. And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry: and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find any thing thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not (yet). And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And His disciples heard it.” Jesus made what we call His “Triumphal Entry: into Jerusalem. He went, with His disciples, to take a look at the temple and then they returned to Bethany. The next day, on the way back to Jerusalem, Jesus was hungry. Seeing a fig tree off in the distance, He approached, seeking some fruit. Sadly, the only thing He saw was leaves, no fruit! He spoke to the tree, stating that no man will gather fruit from it, forever! This was heard by His disciples. The main point of this lesson is to let us know that all who are born again will bear some fruit. Little or a lot, there will be fruit from God’s children. The fate of the fruitless awaits the unsaved. They have no spiritual fruit to minister to others or to God! Robert C. Marquis musically expressed this tragedy in his hymn: “Leaves, Only Leaves, Was the Fig Tree’s Crown” This is how he expressed this awful fate: “”Leaves, only leaves, was the fig-tree’s crown, tho’ it promised ripe fruitage as well; leaves, withered leaves, ah! so parched and brown.  A sad story of life they tell. Useless and wasted its years have all been, why should it longer be spared? Leaves, only leaves, leaves, only leaves,  Jesus has passed, and found leaves, only leaves. Leaves, only leaves, will the Master find if perchance He may pass me today; leaves, only leaves, and no fruit entwined, will my Lord be compelled to say? Hungry and weary He comes to my door, will He find fruit, and abide? Leaves, only leaves, leaves, only leaves, gath’ring time’s past, and I’ve leaves, only leaves. Leaves, only leaves, after years of care, has God’s goodness been wasted on me; leaves only leaves, shall this be my share from God’s hand thro’ eternity? Vainly He sendeth me blessings each day, vainly He cometh, to find leaves, only leaves, leaves, only leaves, gath’ring time’s past, and I’ve leaves, only leaves.Selah! Those who are abiding in the Vine will bear fruit! No root; no fruit!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

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A Unique Event

The disciples, having secured a colt (under unusual circumstances), bring it to Jesus for Him to use. In Mark 11:7-10, the colt’s use is explained: “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and He sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed (them) in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed (is) He that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.” This was Jesus, entering Jerusalem as King. It was hardly a ticker-tape parade. Nevertheless, it was a time when His people had the opportunity to embrace Him as Lord and Savior. Jesus knew it wouldn’t happen. He had to go to Calvary! Why would they not respond to His offer? For the very same reason that most don’t today. We are rebels wanting our own way. Thank God for many who surrender their lives to Jesus. These enjoy the freedom that Calvary made available. The war is over! There is peace for the true believer. He or she has come over to God’s side and been adopted into God’s royal family. Hallelujah! Never lose sight of the reality of a day coming when Jesus will reign over all, forever! He is King of kings and Lord of lords! In five brief stanzas, P. P. Bliss” hymn, “Man of Sorrows,” What a Name” presents the sweep of God’s plan in Christ: rejection, redemption, reception, rejoicing and reigning: “Man of sorrows what a name  for the Son of God, who came ruined sinners to reclaim:  Hallelujah, what a Savior! Bearing shame and scoffing rude, in my place condemned He stood,  sealed my pardon with His blood: Hallelujah, what a Savior! Guilty, helpless, lost were we; blameless Lamb of God was He, sacrificed to set us free: Hallelujah, what a Savior! He was lifted up to die; “It is finished” was His cry; now in heaven exalted high: Hallelujah, what a Savior! When He comes, our glorious King, all His ransomed home to bring, then anew this song we’ll sing: Hallelujah, what a Savior! Selah! We decide which king we will serve. Is it the king of the kingdom of darkness, or is it King Jesus?   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at Knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Available

Jesus is always available to whosoever will take Him as Lord and Savior. Once we are born again, Jesus is always available. If we have allowed sin in our lives, He may limit His availability until we confess our sin(s) and seek His forgiveness and cleansing. When we do that, He is fully available  to us. However, the question is: “Are we available to Him?” Or, are we too busy, distracted and involved in things of far less importance than spending time with Him? We have a tremendous example of being available for Him to use. Mark 11:1-6. Read and reflect: “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, He sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring (him). And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.” Jesus and His disciples were about a mile from Jerusalem and Jesus needed a colt (a young donkey). He sent two of His men to go and take the donkey and bring it to Him. Just go and take it! What if they were questioned? Jesus knew that this colt was available to Him, They were questioned and they explained Jesus’ need and they were allowed to take the colt. At a moment’s notice, are we available? In the hymn, “Ready to Suffer Grief or Pain,” A. C. Palmer gives us the ways that we should be available: “Ready to suffer grief or pain, ready to stand the test; ready to stay at home and send others if He sees best. Ready to go, ready to bear, ready to watch and pray; ready to stand aside and give ’till He shall clear the way. Ready to speak, ready to think, ready with heart and mind; ready to stand where He sees fit, ready HIs will to find. Ready to speak, ready to warn, ready o’er souls to yearn; ready in life or ready in death, ready for His return. Ready to go, ready to stay, ready my place to fill; ready for service lowly or great, ready to do His will.” Selah! If Jesus could use a small animal when it was made available, think what He might do with our availability!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Oh, What a Sight!

One of the most difficult things a human being could suffer would be blindness. Imagine, never seeing! Imagine only being able to see slightly. If a cure were available, it would be extremely rare to find a blind person who wouldn’t want it. In Mark 10:46-52, we are told of a blind man who sought and found a cure for his blindness: “And they came to Jericho: and as He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, (Thou) Son of David, have mercy on me. And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto Him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” This blind man became aware of Jesus. He cried out to Jesus for mercy. People tried to discourage him. He wouldn’t be dissuaded; he cried louder and was persistent. Jesus heard, responded and called the man to come. Jesus asked him what he wanted and the man asked for restoration of his sight. Jesus commended the blind man’s faith and restored his sight. Why is it that, spiritually, people are blind but do not come to Jesus for spiritual healing like Bartimeaus did for physical healing? Bartimeaus knew he was blind. Most people today don’t even know that they are spiritually blind. When we who know Jesus as Savior and Lord reflect His light into their darkness, some will realize their need. Those who do will have a far greater healing than Bartimaeus experienced. In the hymn, “The Light of the World is Jesus, P. P. Bliss invites spiritually blind people to come to Jesus for spiritual healing: “Ye dwellers in darkness with sin-blinded eyes, the Light of the world is Jesus! Go, wash at His bidding, and light will arise; the Light of the world is Jesus! Come to the light, ’tis shining for thee; sweetly the light has dawned upon me; once I was blind, but now I can see: the Light of the world is Jesus!” Selah! Physical healing is for a limited time; spiritual healing is forever!   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me atknowingtheway1@gmail.com


 

Displeased Disciples

You are part of a group. You share a common purpose. You labor with and enjoy each other. Unexpectedly, a couple of your companions take it upon themselves to go to the leader and ask for the “top” positions under the leader. Would you be displeased? Very likely! This happened with two of Jesus’ disciples. Mark 10:41-45 tells about that time: “And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John, but Jesus called them (to Him), and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for many.” It is interesting that Jesus did not scold James and John. He, also, didn’t side with the others. Instead, He used this situation to teach a vital lesson. Calling them all to Himself, He pointed out that this kind of prideful ambition was common among the Gentiles. For His followers, it would be just the opposite. He then explained that those who desire true greatness will minister to and serve others. Next, He gave them a living illustration of this kind of greatness. He spoke of Himself! He did not come to be ministered to, but to minister. He went further; He came to lay down His own life as a ransom for all enslaved to sin. He did go on to do that! For all slaves of sin, He paid the price of redemption. For those who wanted to be freed from bondage to sin, the payment would be applied. The first stanza of, “Yes, Saved to Serve, I Watch and Pray,” by S. W. Cope pretty well sums up the servant’s heart: “Yes saved to serve, I watch and pray, and stand rejoicing ev’ry day. I would love the Lord with all my heart, and from His precepts ne’er depart. Yes, saved to serve, by faith I live, to God my time and talents give, I seek to know His gracious will, and all His law of love fulfill.” Selah! Jesus defined true greatness as that which helps meet the needs of others, both the human needs and the Spiritual needs.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Prideful Motivation

I’m not sure how long it was, after Jesus spoke to His disciples about His impending suffering and death, before James and John came asking Jesus to grant their request. If it was soon after, it seems that their ambition occupied their thoughts more than what Jesus was soon to endure. Mark 10:35-40 records this exchange between Jesus, James and John: “And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And He said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto Him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on Thy right hand, and the other on Thy left hand, in Thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto Him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: but to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.” I note that the sons of Zebedee came privately to Jesus. Did they hope to get ahead of the others? They appeared to want position and authority. When challenged by Jesus, asking if they could suffer the way He was going to suffer, they self-confidently said , “We can.” His reply must have been startling! They would indeed suffer but the Father will give what He gives to those for whom it is prepared. Their prideful motivation would accomplish nothing. A. B. Simpson’s, “Not I, But Christ,” speaks of what should motivate His disciples: “Not I, but Christ, be honored, loved, exalted; not I, but Christ, be seen be known, be heard; not I, but Christ, in every look and action, not I, but Christ, in every thought and word. Not I, but Christ, in lowly, silent labor; not I, but Christ, in humble, earnest toil;  Christ, only Christ! no show, no ostentation!  Christ, none but Christ, the gath’rer of the spoil.” Selah! We can trust His love and His wisdom. What He determines and does is right!  Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

The Time Was Coming

While very young, Jesus must have been aware of the horrible death He must die. Imagine the shadow of that impending death in His thoughts all through the years of His life. Only His mighty love and perfect harmony with His Father’s will moved Him to go through with it. His disciples seemed to be without a clue as to what was going to take place. In His love for them, He began to prepare them. In Mark 10:32-34, we have one account of Him talking with them about what to expect: “And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And He took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto Him, saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn Him to death, and shall deliver Him to the Gentiles: and they shall mock Him, and shall scourge Him, and shall spit upon Him, and shall kill Him: and the third day He shall rise again.” Fearful, but following, they moved toward Jerusalem. During that time, Jesus took the twelve and spelled out the pain, the mockery, the disrespect, and the killing that He must endure. They still didn’t appear to grasp what He told them. It was to be a time of distress and death, but not defeat! Hear the triumphant words of victory with which Jesus concluded this time with His disciples: “and the third day He shall rise again!” Why would Jesus go through this wicked treatment? Robert Harkness asked this same question in his hymn, “Why Should He Love Me So?” He wrote: “Love sent my Savior to die in my stead; why should He love me so? Meekly to Calvary’s cross He was led; why should He love me so? Nails pierced His hands and His feet for my sin; why should He love me so? He suffered sore my salvation to win; why should He love me so? O how He agonized there in my place; why should He love me so? Nothing withholding my sin to efface; why should He love me so?” Only His fathomless love, and His Father’s, could move Him to pay such a price in order to salvage the likes of us! Selah! Our response to that love is the most important decision we will ever make!   Ron

Questions? E-mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com