*We asked our congregation to submit questions for Derek to answer in our series "Ask Me Anything". Some were answered on Sunday morning, some are answered here in our blog.

Mark 15:23, why would the guards try & force Jesus to drink wine with myrrh? Only because it is “bitter Substance” (Matt – mixed with Gall 27:34) or for another reason all together?

 There are two different takes on this passage.

1) They mixed the wine with Myrrh so that it would act as a numbing agent to help with the trauma that Jesus was enduring on our behalf on the cross. Since Jesus was willing to do this, He wanted nothing to numb Him during this time, so that He would fill the maximum effect of the Cross on our behalf.

2) In Matthew, the Gall COULD have had a poisonous effect. But, most likely, it was more of a mockery that they gave Him wine (which was good), yet mixed it with Gall (which was bitter) to tease and laugh at Him while He was dying.

Mark 11:12-14 & 20-21 – the fig tree – Jesus seemed frustrated & thus cursed the tree to be barren, but why did Jesus wither, thus kill, the fig tree? What was the purpose of withering the fig tree?

On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. (Mark 11:12-14, ESV)

As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” (Mark 11:20-21, ESV)

The fig tree in this passage signifies the Temple and Israel. The Fig tree is to produce fruit. Israel has a call and a duty. Jesus was showing that, in season and out of season, the church is to produce. When we do not, He will take us out Himself.

Between these verses from 15-19, we find Jesus cleansing the Temple. This shows a Temple that is not producing because of those who opposed Jesus and His teaching. Just as the Fig tree did not bear fruit, so in verse 20-2,1 we find out Jesus caused this tree to wither. Jesus did the same to the Temple and to Israel.

We all must heed this warning and be about the business of making disciples, so we will be found following Jesus when He returns.   

Mark 13:14-20 – I do not fully understand this section overall, but my main question was vs. 17-18 “woe to pregnant….” Is there any way you can break this section (all 14-20) down for understanding?

“But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. 20 And if the Lord had not cut short the days, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he shortened the days. (Mark 13:14-20, ESV)

First, when looking at verses 17-18: 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 

In those days, it was a blessing to be pregnant, just as it is now. Pregnancy is hard and trying and women, while pregnant, need to be cared for and handled with care. When it was wartime, it was not a blessing to be pregnant or nursing, because then, not only would you have to look after yourself, but also those who are vulnerable. So, in the last days, when the Antichrist is on the earth, that which should be a blessing (pregnant & nursing) becomes a liability because of the harshness that will be on all people on the earth.

Difficult times are coming and when things are difficult, we all need to be at our peak performance. What this passage is telling us is that things are going to be very bad and we need to be aware of these things and know that they are coming.