Les Demoiselles d’Avignon
marks a radical break
traditional composition and perspective in painting.
It depicts five naked women composed of
flat, splintered planes
whose faces were inspired by Iberian sculpture and African
The compressed space they inhabit appears to project forward in jagged shards,
while a slice of melon in the still life at the
bottom of the composition teeters on an upturned tabletop.
the monumental painting in his Paris studio
after months of revision.
The Avignon of the work’s title is a reference to a
street in Barcelona famed for its brothels.
Bare-naked Ladies, If I had a
And whosoever doth not bear his cross,
and come after me,
cannot be my disciple.”
And Jesus went into the temple of God,
and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple,
and overthrew the tables of the money changers,
and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them,
It is written,
My house shall be called the house of prayer;
but ye have made it a den of thieves.
In Luke 13:6-9, we hear Jesus tell a parable about a barren fig tree that should make us pause. A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any.
Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘
leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around
it and fertilize it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then
cut it down.’
Jesus used everyday examples and parables to relate His messages about our spiritual lives to everyday experiences and things listeners would understand.
In those days, trees were symbolic of
living a godly life.
From the very beginning in the first few passages of Genesis, to the first psalm, to the first pages of the New Testament, and even when Christ returns, there’s a reference of a tree.
Not because God really likes trees but because
He labors in us to produce godly fruit.
Trees provide a framework for the biblical story of us. Trees were the only item mentioned in the Bible as pleasing to the eye in the creation account. Trees—the tree of life with its lifegiving fruit and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was used as
parameters for the metaphor of the whole Bible.
Between the tree of life in Genesis and in Revelation, how are we to live?
Like a tree!
When Jesus told the parable of the fig tree, He was trying to get our attention because
He is the master gardener.
He always nourishes and protects. He prunes off the dead parts of our lives that won’t serve us. He’s tender to our new vines and branches.
He shows up with sturdy gloves and an eye for detail. He shows up wearing old blue jeans, an old white shirt, and a hat; ready to get to work as we lay ourselves before Him as He tells us, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain on the vine” (John 15:4). The vine He created was for the purpose of staying rooted and bearing fruit through Him. He reminds us, “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples”(John 15:8). When He talks about each us of us, His eyes shine as He takes pride in the work of our lives even when the work He is doing feels more like loss of life than actual living.
This is the meaning of the fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. Jesus wants us to live our lives for God. He wants us to ensure we stay deeply rooted in His Word, in His Presence in all that we do. As He tends to our branches, He expects a fruitful return of His investment because He willingly paid dearly through the death on the cross. It covered our sins and in return, He wants to see each of us adding to the Kingdom of God with our hearts, our speech, and in all that we do.
The Nation of Israel and the IndividualThe Fig tree in this parable represents us and the nation of Israel. The vineyard owner in this story is God, the One who rightly decides whether or not to uproot the trees that are not bearing fruit. As the story unfolds, we see God is disappointed because it lacked any fruit after caring for the tree for three years.
The Three YearsThe three years in this story represent John the Baptist, Jesus, and their ministry as they preached repentance to the nation of Israel. John the Baptist warned the people about the coming Messiah. He told them to bring the fruit of their hearts to Christ because the ax was already at the root of the tree. But the Jewish people were offended at the idea they needed to repent. Then they rejected the Messiah because Jesus demanded a clean heart, a clean slate via repentance. They had created their own system of human works righteousness which was never God’s intention.
3 Lessons Christians Can Learn From the Parable of the Fig TreeIn this story we see stubborn hearts riddled with pride. The Jewish people felt their actions, deeds, and the states of their hearts were righteous despite God pointing out their sins. As followers of Christ, we have to make a decision: live for ourselves or live on in the vine in Christ.
God Is Willing to Forgive & Is Patient
The good news from this story is God, the Master Gardener is merciful and willing to forgive. He is patient but His patience will run out. Neither you nor I want to be on the receiving end of the ax. It’s better to repent and turn from the sins that are preventing us from living fully for Christ before His patience runs out.
Stay Rooted in Christ
The fruit tree (each of us) requires a lot of time, investment, and proper handling to enjoy its fruit year after year. It’s a reward to see an apple tree or fig tree weighed down with its luscious fruit ripe for the picking even through life’s storms. We have no control over our circumstances, but we do have control over how we respond. Do we blame God, or do we dig our roots in deeper? In this parable, Jesus knows we’re human, we’re frail, we have weaknesses and temptations. But it’s up to us to rely on Jesus for the strength and wisdom to navigate what comes our way.
Jesus Doesn’t Tolerate False Appearances
Jesus cursed the fig tree because it had the appearance of fruitfulness, but it was deceptive. It didn’t produce fruit. This falseness is the essence of hypocrisy. The Bible is full of verses where Jesus addressed hypocrisy. He witnessed it so often, He used the tree in this story as a vivid depiction of it. The day before He told this parable, He had entered the temple courts to find His Father’s house turned into a market filled with people who didn’t care about God but were taking advantage of those hearts who wanted to honor Him. It wasn’t just about making a quick buck. He doesn’t want us to be whitewashed tombs. Our time to choose Him and bear fruit is running out.
The key to understanding this valuable lesson
is abiding in Christ
“I am the real vine,
my Father is the gardener
Every branch which is part of me but fails to bear fruit, he cuts off; and every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes, so that it may bear more fruit. Right now, because of the word which I have spoken to you, you are pruned. Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me. I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing. Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up. If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you. This is how my Father is glorified — in your bearing much fruit; this is how you will prove to be my talmidim. Just as my Father has loved me, I too have loved you; so stay in my love. If you keep my commands, you will stay in my love — just as I have kept my Father’s commands and stay in his love. I have said this to you so that my joy may be in you, and your joy be complete.”
A barren landscape
is dry and bare, and has very few plants and
...the landscape of high barren mountains.
desolate, empty, desert, bare
Barren land consists of soil that is so poor that plants cannot grow in it.
He wants to use the water to irrigate barren desert land.
unproductive, dry, useless, sterile
If you describe something such as an activity or a period of your life as barren,
you mean that you achieve no success during it or that it has no useful results.
...an empty exercise barren of utility.
If you describe a room or a place as barren,
you do not like it because it has almost no furniture or other objects in it.
The room was austere, nearly barren of furniture or decoration.
Synonyms: empty [informal], clear, vacant, void More Synonyms of barren
a : having very few plants : not suitable for plants
- a barren [=desolate] landscape
- a barren desert
- Few creatures can thrive on these barren mountaintops.
- a barren tree
- a barren orchard
not able to produce children or offspring : infertile
- a barren woman
- The book was good, but I found the barren lives of the characters depressing.
- a very barren routine
: not producing good or useful things, ideas, etc.
- an artist who is going through a barren period
- a barren mind
: not having (something) : without
- a hillside barren of trees
- the barrenness of the land/soil
not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman. of land or soil; not good enough for plants to grow on it
- Bare means "naked,"
but to bear is to carry something
removing clothes or revealing something.
It's getting down to the bare bones. Bare-knuckled or
barehanded means the gloves are off.
Don't walk on glass in bare feet, and
your soul to a con artist
If you can't bear to be naked, you can't stand it. Bear is to put up with or carry something,
like a burden or a baby.
Or both. It's spelled just like the animal. Grin and bear it means to smile during a storm, not to smile and disrobe. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution mentions the right to bear arms, and it has nothing to do with tank tops. If a tree bears fruit, you're in luck. Here are some non-furry bears caught in the wild:
But he could not bear to live in their dream without the one who was to share it. (Time)
Your son will still be your son,
and your grandchildren your grands, no matter
what name they bear.
If you can't bear to remember it all, just imagine a
lumbering grizzly carrying a heavy load,
and you'll bear this knowledge with glee! If a bear bares his teeth, though, run!
bared; baring; barest; bares; barer
When you kick off your shoes to walk on the beach,
you are enjoying the feeling of your bare feet in the warm sand.
The adjective bare describes something
or someone that is naked or unclothed.
Bare can be used in many different ways: to describe the
inside of your nearly-empty refrigerator, an uncarpeted floor,
or your unadorned, sparsely decorated bedroom.
The word bare can also be used as a verb meaning
"to uncover or expose."
When you reveal deep truths
about yourself to another person
imagine confessing your passion for stamp collecting
to a girl you like — you "bare your soul."
In cases where you are referring to the state of being uncovered or naked the word you want is bare: “bare necessities,” “bare essentials,” “bare legs,” “bare bones,” “bare-knuckle,” and so on. The verb bare has only one meaning: “to uncover.” All other verb uses are for bear: “bearing children,” “bear south on the expressway,” “it bears repeating.” Bear is the only one of this pair that can also be a noun.
Bare’ and ‘bear’ as verbs
The first thing to remember when deciding between bare and bear is that, as a verb, bare has only one meaning, which is “to uncover.” Bare can be used for uncovering things both literally and figuratively. When your dog bares its teeth, it is removing the covering of its lips from its pearly whites. “Baring your soul” to your bestie means revealing, or uncovering, the truth about how you feel. If you’re talking about the action of uncovering or revealing something, the word you want is bare.
The verb form of bear has a much wider range of meanings. When you can’t bear to hear a sad song, you can no longer “accept or endure” it. “The right to bear arms” means the right to carry weapons (“the right to bare arms” would mean the right to wear short sleeves). Bear can also mean “give birth to,” “produce as yield” (e.g. loans that bear interest), or “to produce fruit,” among other definitions. You want your pear tree to bear pears, not to be bare of pears.
Bare’ and ‘bear’ as adjectives
Bare as an adjective has a number of possible meanings (including “lacking clothing,” “mere,” or “without amplification or adornment”). A bare-knuckle brawl is one between two fighters who are not wearing gloves. A bare majority is the smallest possible majority; the bare minimum is the least amount. If you can open a tight pickle jar with your bare hands, it means you don’t need to hold a potholder or the corner of your shirt to get at that briny goodness.
Bear, on the other hand, is not an adjective, although the noun form of the word can function like an adjective when it is used to modify other nouns—think bear market, bear habitat, or bear cubs. If you email someone asking for just the most basic and unadorned information, you want the bare facts. You don’t want the bear facts, unless you are interested in grizzlies or Winnie the Pooh.
‘Bear’ as a noun
Bear is the only one of these two words that is used as a noun. It can refer to "any one of a group of large and heavy animals that have thick hair and sharp claws and that can stand on two legs like a person," and it has a number of figurative meanings, including "something that is difficult to do or deal with.”
bear in mind
cross to bear
right to bear arms
bear down on
easier to bear
bring to bear
grin and bear it
bare one's soul
bare one's teeth
bare (it) all
A Trick for
Telling Them Apart
When choosing between bear and bare, consider that most uses of bear imply the presence of something, while bare suggests a removal or absence. Someone with a cross to bear is carrying a metaphorical weight. To bear witness is to provide testimony. But if your intentions are laid bare, you’ve run out ways to disguise them; and if your cupboards are bare, you’ve eaten all the food. As a mnemonic (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mnemonic) device, therefore, it may help to think of an actual bear as having a presence (and being something you do not want to carry). That approach could be worth bearing in mind.
Jesus said that if we are to
truly be His disciples,
we are to “take up our cross daily and follow Him”
But what does it mean to “take up one’s cross?"
To understand that, we need to understand the
meaning of the cross in the time and
culture of Jesus.
The cross has lost most of its original meaning today.
It is shrouded in religiousness and mystery.
It has become many things—from a
religious icon to a fashion element.
When we see the cross today, it is a symbol of faith—particularly the Christian faith.
But in the time when Jesus made that statement, He had not yet died on the cross.
So, in its original context, the cross was a symbol of death.
In fact, it was the symbol of a
very cruel death.
The Romans reserved it for the worst criminals.
It was a form of torture and humiliation, ultimately
leading to a long and painful death.
A Gruesome Symbol
Why would He use the
cross to illustrate
what it meant to follow Him?
Jesus intentionally used a gruesome symbol to get people’s attention.
He did this to say that following Him was not
It is not a game and it is not easy.
In fact, it will
cost you to follow Him as a disciple.
But, on the other hand,
it will cost you more not to follow Him.
So, what does it mean to “bear the cross” today?
Often, we hear people say that they have a
"cross” to bear.
They will say, “My cross is my parents!” Their parents would probably say, “Our cross is our children!” They identify whatever problem or obstacle they have as their “cross to bear.”
Dying to Self
The cross symbolizes one thing: dying to self.
What does it mean to “die to self”? So much could be said, but allow me to give you a few practical examples of how this would work in day-to-day living. To bear the cross means:
- forgiving, instead of harboring that grudge
- resisting that temptation to do what everybody else does
- not having sex before marriage, and being faithful to your spouse after
- putting down the remote control and picking up your Bible
- praying when you would rather be sleeping
- “swallowing your pride” and telling someone about Jesus
- doing what God wants you to do, instead of what you want to do
Lose Your Life
We have all heard the expression, “You need to get a life!” Well, Jesus would put it another way. He would in effect say, “You need to lose your life if you want to find it!”
A disciple of Jesus must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Jesus. Luke 14:27 says, “Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
I know that can sound pretty unappealing. You imagine yourself living in this miserable, sacrificial, unhappy condition. But the fact of the matter is that nothing could be further from the truth. Note that Jesus says, “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it!” (Matthew 16:25)
“You want to find yourself? Then lose yourself.”
Do you want to find life, purpose, and personal happiness? Then say, “Lord, here is my life—my plans, my aspirations, my dreams, as well as my weaknesses, shortcomings, and sins. I believe that Your plans are better than mine in the long run.”
It really is a paradox:
by “dying to self,” or “losing yourself,” you find yourself. Through death,
you find real life.
A Place of Surrender
When the Bible talks about taking up our cross and following Him, it helps to read Luke 13:33: “Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” Literally, forsake means: “You must surrender your claim to, or say goodbye to.”
That does not mean that to live as a disciple of Jesus one has to take a vow of poverty and give every possession away. Jesus meant that we are to surrender our claim to our possessions. In other words, we are not to be possessed by possessions.
It’s fine to have clothes, a car, a house, and a career. It’s fine to have friends, hobbies, and interests. But the true disciple should not be obsessed with these things. The only obsession a disciple should have is for Jesus Christ. He must be the most important pursuit in our lives. He must be more important than our career or our personal happiness.
Now that you know what it means, let me ask you, “Are you dying to yourself and taking up the cross?”
The fact is, when we do this,
we experience joy and overflowing life!
We will find the personal happiness we want not by seeking it,
but by seeking Him.
Paul summed it up well when he wrote:
"I have been crucified with Christ;
it is no longer I who live,
but Christ lives in me;
and the life which I now live in the flesh
I live by faith in the Son of God,
who loved me and gave Himself for me”