The lesson of the fig tree

“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near” (Matthew 24:32)

When speaking about future events that will lead up to His second coming, Jesus presents a fig tree as an example. This imagery is especially familiar in areas with cold winters. How joyful it can be after a long winter to see the first leaves and blossoms appear! Even though it might still be cold and chilly, these first bits of green are a clear sign that nature ‘wakes up’ again and summer is on its way.

Jesus applies this example to his second coming. Careful observers can know that Jesus is near, ‘at the very gates’, when they see certain events happen that are summed up earlier on in this chapter. The earth will face ‘birth pains’ like famines, wars and earthquakes. The love of many will grow cold. But also the Gospel message will be spread throughout the world. Eventually, the sun, moon and stars will be darkened. And then the Son of Man will come with great glory.

We can’t predict when exactly Jesus will come (Matthew 24:36). But looking around, we see the signs of Him coming near. As the first leaves in spring provide a solid hope that summer will come, so we can trust that our Savior will come back.

Are you ready?

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