What happened next has been interpreted in various ways, and viewing this through my emotional lens, I might be tempted to say that Jesus was “hangry” (angry for what He saw in the temple and hungry in the morning). Then, because He was hangry, Jesus simply cursed the tree. However, that is not likely the case here. Instead, Jesus saw the opportunity to use this moment to provide a powerful illustration. The fact that what happened with the fig tree frames the account of Jesus cleansing the temple is significant.
Do you know a donkey like the one Jesus is describing here? Maybe it’s a son or a daughter, maybe a sister, brother, father, or mother. They’re on the margins, they’re bound by habits and addictions, they rebel against the church, against spiritual leadership, and their parents. Some people have already given up on them, but Jesus is telling you to untie them and bring them to Him. After they meet Jesus, they will never be the same.
In the text, we read that the Twelve men Jesus recruited back in chapter 3 verse 14, He empowered to go out into towns and villages as His ambassadors. An ambassador has conferred authority and power from the person he or she represents. Jesus called the Twelve, He trained them, taught them, and then He sent them out with the spiritual authority and power to do what they were asked to do.
We live in a world of hurting people, wounded people who think no one cares and who believe we will not look beyond their sins to offer compassion and concern rather than criticism and condemnation. We can care about sinners without condoning sin, and we love the lost without approving of their lifestyle. They are in the darkness, so we must be the light that draws them to Christ. Only He can transform their lives into something beautiful. We know He can, because for that’s our testimony.
As a Church of God preacher, I embrace the view that speaking in tongues is the first physical evidence that one has been baptized with the Spirit, but I also agree with Pastor T. L. Lowery who said, “If the only evidence that you’ve been filled with the Spirit is that you speak in tongues, then I question your experience.” Why would he say that? He said it because speaking in tongues is the initial evidence, not the only evidence, and certainly not the most important evidence that a person has been filled with the Spirit. I would argue that while the evidence of the baptism may be that the believer speaks in tongues, the purpose of the baptism is power to be witnesses of Jesus Christ.