Yesterday, I preached on Jesus and the fig tree. It is such a strange pericope (aka story). Both Matthew and Mark tell us (Matthew 21 and Mark 11) that Jesus was walking along, sees a fig tree, doesn’t find fruit, curses the tree and wham-o, it dies.
There is a broader point to the story, as I mentioned in the sermon: about prayer, about asking for what we want, and about the power of God to move mountains. [And as reminded by a commenter, there are broader symbolic connections with the nation itself.]
But, c’mon… what is it with this fig tree?
This morning I sat down with my devotions and read from Albert Edward Day’s The Captivating Presence:
Sometimes the best of us have days when our dearest friend must say, “you are not yourself today”. That fact gives them a hard time and sends them away deprived of what they should have from us. BUT GOD IS ALWAYS GOD.
“You are not yourself today.”
That’s what I wish the disciples had told Jesus when he cursed that fig tree. It wasn’t even the right season. What was he thinking?
Well, probably, he wasn’t.
You know… the one where they are handed a Snickers and transform back into their real selves with just one bite?
The tagline is “You’re Not You When You’re Hungry.”
This story is also a reminder that while God is always God, Jesus was also fully human.
And human beings get hungry.
The next day, after leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. (Mark 11:12)
Early in the morning as Jesus was returning to the city, he was hungry. (Matthew 21:18)
When I get hungry, I get grouchy. Seriously cranky. My head hurts. I don’t want to do anything. I’m a bear to be around and I often lash out at whatever or whomever might be nearby.
What if Jesus just really needed a candy bar?
I wish I had the answers about how Jesus could be fully God and fully human all at the same time, but to me it is a mystery. And I’m okay with that.
I’m okay with the unchanging, holy, everlasting, eternal, awesome God becoming one of us.
I’m okay with the idea that Jesus can be totally divine and holy and merciful and good and loving AND that he was a human being who cried as a baby and learned and changed as an adult, and yes, got hungry sometimes.
It doesn’t have to make sense and it doesn’t change my ability to turn to God or learn from Jesus.
Well, maybe it does change my feelings… maybe it deepens my appreciation of God’s love for us. That God would go so far to get to know us so well.