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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Nothing But Leaves (Mark 11:13)
Date Posted: October 6, 2020

“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He [Jesus] was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, 'Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.' And His disciples heard it.” (Mark 11.12-14). This reading has been the text from which hundreds and thousands of preachers have taken their sermon text. The gist of their sermons take Jesus' words and expand on them such that they conclude that God wants fruit and not just leaves; that was the meaning of the object lesson and it makes for great preaching.

However, today's devotional will focus on another text and how the phrase nothing but leaves applies from it. “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” (Revelation 22.1-5).

Without touching on the classical arguments that ensue from many studies of the book of Revelation, we will take a valuable lesson from this passage. Notice that the text centers around the blessings that are available around the throne of God and the Lamb. Figures of speech abound, but that does not mean that literal lessons cannot be drawn. In fact, these figures make the literal meaning even more poignant. As the reader, you are encouraged to scan the passage and notice how rich it is in blessing phrases. However, our focus will be totally on the phrase involving leaves, the leaves of the the tree of life.

The tree of life represents the capacity to live forever in a state of celestial bliss. That ability depends upon healing. Without being cured from the spiritual ailments from which all men suffer, there could be no ability to live eternally. The leaves of the tree of life signify that healing. What had been taken away due to sin was now restored through the forgiveness of sin. What was ultimately the work of Satan was trumped by the work of the Lamb. The victory of the Lamb is part and parcel of this happy scene. His work was not only sufficient, it was flawless and the resultant blessings partake of that same flawless nature.

Had the healing ultimately made possible by the Lamb been restricted to a particular group or groups, His work would not have been perfect. However, in as much as His sacrifice was for the benefit of the nations (all nations/peoples), it is the perfect sacrifice. Any and all who honestly seek to find healing can do so; any person's exclusion is a result of imperfect man and not an imperfect sacrifice. One other amazing fact is this: there was and is the need for only one sacrifice. The cure is truly universal in nature. There is not one cure for whites and another for blacks; there is not one cure for Americans and another for Europeans. One illness – One cure; all represented by the leaves of the tree of life.

Just as surely as the Lamb had the ability to curse the fig tree so that it would never yield fruit again, He also has the ability to bless mankind so that he will rejoice amidst the fruits of righteousness forever and ever. There simply is no way that we as human beings can grasp the full significance of the leaves in this text. However, we can know assuredly that when it comes to our healing, it can come from nothing but leaves!

Questions:

1. Who is the Lamb in today's focus text?

2. Who or what is represented by the nations in the text?

3. In what way was the sacrifice of the Lamb perfect?

4. Can our spiritual healing come from anything but these leaves? Why or why not?

"'Christ in You...'" from Dale Krebbs

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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