I had the privilege of worshiping with a church in Bethlehem on Palm Sunday. It is always a joy to be with this congregation; their worship is so energetic and genuine. The pastor preached from Mark 11 – the event know as the Triumphal Entry.
Verse 13: Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf. He went over to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it: “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
Figs ripen in late summer. (And the figs in Jerusalem are delicious!) It always seemed unreasonable that Jesus expected to find fruit in the spring. The pastor asked the congregation what Jesus should have found on the tree. “Dafur” was the unanimous answer. It seemed like everybody knew about dafur but me. I learned later that dafur is a special Arabic word that means unripe or new figs. The dafur comes first and then the green leaves. Over the course of the summer, the dafur ripen into those delicious figs. According to the pastor, dafur taste even better than ripe figs. So even though it was early for ripe figs, there should have been dafur on the tree that Jesus and his disciples found in Jerusalem.
Of course, we want to have full-grown spiritual fruit in our lives. The time from green fruit to ripe can take longer than we’d like and it can’t be rushed. If we aren’t being the person that makes the green fruit possible and aren’t doing the things that allow it to ripen, we’ll never experience the ripe fruit. We shouldn’t worry about the fruit; it is the dafur that should concern us. If we are being and doing as God’s Word instructs us, the Holy Spirit will ripen our fruit. When it ripens it will be a pleasing fragrance and delicious just like the Jerusalem figs.
- ► 2007 (53)