When I hear the term “Lamb of God”, a fiery, combative personality doesn’t jump to the front of my mind.
That’s the language John the Baptist used to describe Jesus in John 1:29, and the prophet Isaiah predicted Jesus coming as such: “He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.” (Isaiah 53:7) Jesus often had a very calming, serene presence.
That’s not the Jesus this poor fig tree encountered on His way into Jerusalem.
As we established yesterday, Jesus was hungry. As He and the disciples passed a fig tree, Jesus approached it in hopes of snagging a sweet treat. However, the tree was baren, with nothing but leaves. “May you never bear fruit again!” Jesus exclaimed, and immediately the tree withered.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen a lamb act like that.
We’ll examine why Jesus had this sudden burst of frustration tomorrow, but today I want to focus on the nature of Jesus’ actions. Because for all the miracles recorded in the Bible, this is the only one that was destructive.
Jesus came to save the world, not condemn it (John 3:17). Plus, lambs don’t destroy things, right?
Well, “Lamb of God” is only one name for Jesus. Here are a few others: Judge (Acts 10:42), Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5), Mighty One (Isaiah 60:16), Victorious One (Revelation 3:21). Throughout the gospels, we see Jesus become angry, butt heads with the religious leaders, express frustration at the disciples’ actions, and more.
Bottom line: Jesus experienced human emotions, including anger and disappointment. And He had the power to destroy anyone or anything at any time with just the snap of a finger.
Yet we see that power used just this once.
Not as He was being spit on (Matthew 26:67), mocked (Luke 22:63-65), beaten (Mark 14:65), flogged (John 19:1), or crucified (Mark 15:24). At any point, He could’ve destroyed those torturing Him with a single thought.
But He didn’t.
We see plenty of instances of God’s just destruction in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 24:15; Exodus 32:25; Genesis 19:24 are a few examples), but this is the only one Jesus displayed. He was patient and compassionate in the face of ignorance, intolerance, judgement, and even violence.
Jesus had every right to lash out and use His power to crush those that persecuted Him. After all, He was blameless and innocent, and the charges brought against Him were false. Yet He didn’t lift a finger to hurt a human, even the most dastardly among our kind.
The same goes for you and I today. We’re not worthy of God’s grace, and yet we receive it. Because of our sin, we deserve the fate of the fig tree, shriveled and worthless. Instead, Christ invites us into eternal paradise.
Allow Jesus this one destructive miracle, especially if He was hangry. Speaking of which, we’ll examine that more closely tomorrow…