“Nothing but Leaves” (Mark 11:1-25)

Click on the following link to read the sermon I prepared for this week: Nothing but Leaves. After reading, consider the following questions.

  • Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a King even if the crowds of people don’t understand that. How can we recognize Jesus as King in our world today?
  • In what ways was the temple not producing the fruit that Jesus was looking for? Why does Jesus confront the religious leaders so strongly? (Read through all of Mark 11-13).
  • The fig tree is a symbolic representation of the unfruitful temple: just as the fig tree withered, so will the corrupt temple system. What aspects of our own religiosity need to wither away to leave more room for God’s fruit?
  • Jesus talks about the fruit of God being faith, prayer, and forgiveness. How can we embody these fruitful characteristics in our church community today?

May we embrace our calling to become a house of prayer for all the nations. May we trust in God’s faithfulness, pray for God’s kingdom to be present here on earth, and be a people who practice forgiveness.

Feel free to post your thoughts, questions, and responses.


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9 Responses to “Nothing but Leaves” (Mark 11:1-25)

  1. Nancy Schroeder says:

    I just wanted to let you know that this is my first time to see our new blog. I am impressed with all the work you have done to create this. It is great to be able to read your sermons because it is easy to not get everything when sitting out in the pew. I had never really thought about the fig tree and the idea about not producing the “fruit”. That will stick with me! Thanks for all your hard work!

    • Phil Schmidt says:

      I’m glad you had opportunity to check out the blog. It really isn’t a lot of extra work for me, but I’m hoping that it will provide a good opportunity for our community to go deeper into God’s word together!

      Yes, Jesus is insistent that our faith produce God’s fruit in our everyday living. Other than the three pieces of “fruit” that Jesus mentions in this text (faith, prayer, forgiveness), what are other kinds of fruit that Jesus invites us to embrace throughout Mark’s Gospel?

  2. True confession…I too am visiting the blog for the first time and it makes me want to do this every week….today I read your sermon while Mayno is watching March Madness. I love your comparsion of March Madness ( GO SHOCKS!) with Holy Week–I never thought of it that way, and it is so true….a whole lot of madness and the underdog wins. LOVE IT! I continue to find your sermons to be great teaching of Biblical stories as well as applications to our lives…thanks Phil. (Maybe the fact that people had to read this sermon to “hear” it will get more of us hooked on the Sermon Blog.)

    • Phil Schmidt says:

      Confession is good for the soul :).

      Thanks for visiting the blog and for your comments. To take the March Madness analogy a bit further: it is normally the favored teams the feel the pressure (like the religious leaders in Mark). The underdogs are playing hard and having fun because they have nothing to lose (look at FGCU). This once again is similar to Jesus, who knew that victory was guaranteed even if it did seem like he would initially lose on the cross. This freed Jesus to continue faithfully all the way through the cross. Other thoughts?

  3. Doug says:

    Also appreciated the tie in with March Madness to give us a hook from the current cultural context including rooting for the one who has all the odds stacked against him. Nice to have these inspiring words so easily available even though we were not able to meet. Thanks for your good work.

  4. Darlene and Jerry says:

    It’s also our first time to check Tabor’s blog. Thanks for all the effort you have put into it. It’s great to be able to read the sermon. Great job, Pastor Phil!

  5. Jill Brandt says:

    “Those who trust in God’s faithfulness will not hold too tightly to a broken system but will rather embrace new opportunities to become a house of prayer for all the nations.”
    This statement pushes me to look deeper in my life to find “broken systems” in my thinking and actions that I can let go of. What broken systems are we holding too tightly at Tabor?

    • Phil Schmidt says:

      Good question.

      As we reflect on the question you posed, I would add another one: What new opportunities are out there just waiting to be embraced?

  6. jgoerzen says:

    I’ve been pondering all week the comment that “Jesus makes clear in these verses that doubt and unforgiving hearts can make our prayers ineffective.” There’s a ton wrapped up in that.

    Back a few years ago when I was thinking about being baptized, I was able to do that only after accepting that doubt wasn’t something that was bad, and in fact something that was natural and could be fine and good. There have also been times when I’ve prayed for something, and later been glad that those prayers were not answered. Sometimes God might have to tell even the low-doubt people that the mountain needs to stay out of the sea.

    But I haven’t really found much of an answer for myself on whether doubt makes prayers less effective. Perhaps it’s because I don’t tend to frame faith in terms of belief or doub; it’s more of, “am I following the way?” I almost think that when we’re doing the best at following the way, the things we pray for are more closely aligned with the things God loves.

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