Posted by: pmarkrobb | March 29, 2021

tilled up and turned over

I wonder if Jesus politely refused breakfast this morning, already knowing about the barren fig tree and the deep truth God had purposed He share with His disciples today. God, who is outside of time, was now living within it. Did Jesus see His whole day at its beginning? Did He know the plan and purpose of daily things and conversations before He arrived at them? Or did He obey them in the moment, more as we do? I’m guessing, because He is God, the answer to all these questions is, somehow, yes.

Can we bring our hearts to the place of believing that Jesus might have already known every detail of His earthly life, and still experienced them and met moments of decision by obeying his Father’s leading in a way that is common to ours? Can you believe Jesus knew His Monday morning and about the tree, but then also that His hunger wasn’t His direct pre-purposing? And could you believe His gaze caught the tree in a way that yours might have, and in observing the tree He saw (in that specific moment) the deep truth his Father wanted Him to share? Does your understanding and experience of God fit into a box of someone’s making, or is He too big for a box?

Please forgive me and maybe … pray for me? <shrugged shoulders emoji> <smiley face emoji> I got all this from the quite pedestrian words of Mark 11:12. “The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.”

I wonder how many Christians only learn the Bible. Learn, in the sense, that they are only ever taught it and do not truly experience it. They do not bring all their senses to it — seeing, smelling, tasting, touching and hearing the words, stories, characters, and truths about God. In my own experience, I believe there’s profound loss in only learning the Bible. It’s not that you can’t, but that you lose something profoundly precious in the choice. Maybe I can say it this way … it would be like having an intermediary or translator assigned to you on your wedding day or the first day you meet a lifelong friend and you never went or were anywhere without them and without them offering their own interpretation of the setting and circumstances and feelings and implications and decisions and … well, everything. Can you begin to imagine the profound loss of intimacy and knowing and relationship in that way of being and living?

In my own life, I have experienced deep truths about God and His presence and working through times spent in His word in a variety of settings. I remember a morning sitting at the back table with my head buried in the Bible and my notebook, and a moment of looking up at the sound of some flapping wings above me and catching a glorious glance of the sun reflecting off the bottoms of a sky full of seagulls. It was stunning! Like a thousand tiny flashbulbs. In that moment I saw this otherwise bothersome bird as the masterpiece God’s Word says I am (Ephesians 2:10, specifically in the words of the New Living Translation). I further remember stepping out my side door (after some sacred time with God moments before) to the most surreal experience of seeing and feeling Winter but hearing Spring in the song of nearby birds. In that moment, I saw the beauty and power of a soul that sings in a season of suffering. Vivid experiences of God and His truth. Experiences which will stay with me for the remainder of my days and speak and sing as I experience even more of Him through His Word and those He created and purposed for my path.

Jesus invited Thomas to touch His wounds. He concealed truths in stories for those who had ears to hear. He invited the disciples to eat and drink elements that He declared as His body and blood as the old covenant made new in Him. It is God’s desire for us to experience Him with all our senses. To “taste and see,” as the Psalmist said, that He is good (Psalm 34:8). A practical way we can do that is to bring our whole selves to the reading of His Word. To become a disciple waking on that Monday morning and later walking with Jesus and hearing Him curse the tree with no fruit and violently making a mess of the mess that had been made of His house.

Monday in the life of Jesus during this particularly sacred week before dying and rising was disruptive. A bold challenge in the form of a stern (and seemingly out of the blue) rebuke of a fig tree and a house cleaning of all house cleanings. The ground in many human hearts was tilled up and turned over on this day. Jesus was just steps into the full measure of the road that only He could travel. Tomorrow He will teach. Today He turned over. Oh, what great goodness awaits as we continue to walk together with Him.



  1. Thanks!! You were right on the “smile”. 😊

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