“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:17-22
This story is significant because it tells us many things about who Jesus is, as well as what He wants His followers to become. Are you a person that is producing something or simply taking up space and soaking up water and sunshine? Is your life marked by the power of faith and prayer, or just existing and going on from day to day living like most non-believers live. Does your like attract attention because of what you’re bearing for God’s Kingdom, or does a discouragement to those looking for evidence that Jesus Christ is all that He claimed to be?
…..which is it in my life and your life?
It’s noteworthy that Jesus cursed a tree to make a point. I love nature and I hate to see the environment destroyed, the forests eradicated or animals hunting to extinction. But as always seems to be the case, some folks take things to the extreme and begin to worship the wrong thing and send the wrong message. We oftentimes miss the point or get so fixated on something good that we totally forget the best or the essential thing.
For example, e talk about climate change and the association with the industrial revolution and the combustible engine like mankind is a blight on the earth that needs to be eradicated. Some are actually suggesting the industry and the creation of an internal combustion engine or plastics were greatest errors in the history of mankind. Praise God we have electricity, automobiles, ships, trains and computers! Can you imagine life today if we still getting to church in a horse drawn wagon or lacked refrigeration, modern medicine and the marvelous benefits that the industrial revolution has brought to mankind? I’ve been in my home without power a few years ago during an ice storm—-I don’t want to go back to life 300 years ago.
There are those would probably condemn Jesus for killing the fig tree—-because that’s what He did to make a poignant message. There are liberal organizations that do not see man as apex of God’s creation, but rather the blemish of life on this earth and the least worthy of existence. Friends, Jesus was a man—-that in itself is enough to establish the significance of mankind. He came to redeem and provide an eternal existence for man—not trees or pets or spotted owls. We were not created to be subdued by nature or to bow down and worship it. Quite the opposite, we were created to tend the garden of Eden, name the animals and to be sovereign over God’s creation. Christ came to bring women and men to the Father—-not monkeys, seals, dolphins or forests. He ate meat, directed some fisherman to catch hundreds of fish and even cooked the fish Himself. He was not a vegan or a tree hugger. He was a hugger of lost men and women—-that was His purpose and focus——-and it should be ours as well.
The attack by many in our world against the very existence of man should cause us to think about what in the world we are saying and why are we listening to such a crock of baloney.
Daniel Henninger wrote an editorial for the WSJ recently and commented that a new (UN) report leaves no doubt that humans are responsible for global warming, concluding that essentially all of the rise in global average temperatures since the 19th century has been driven by nations burning fossil fuels, clearing forests and loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that trap heat.” According to the UN, he says, climatic destruction is going to get worse no matter what we do.
So if disaster is really coming, what are we supposed to do? Mr. Henninger’s short answer is this: If’ we’re all about die, don’t put the UN or the liberals in Washington, DC in charge of building the next Noah’s Ark. It will sink.
But even if U.N.’s climate report is right, what evidence exists that these liberal, progressive advocates—the socialist or liberal politicians or affiliated scientists—would do anything other than make it worse if we put them in charge of the solutions? That’s the problem that exists in our nation and at the UN.
The observable reality is that progressives, who have now captured the Democratic Party at all levels of government, don’t seem able to run anything anymore—not cities, not Covid-19, not our schools and not a national border. Why would letting them run climate policy be different?
Whatever one thinks about the “root causes” of the rise in violent urban crime or the more than one million migrants apprehended at the southern border thus far this year, the way our present government has handled them both stand as significant case studies in colossal mismanagement.
After twenty years of investing blood and resources into Afghanistan you will witness, this week, the utter destruction of the nation, democracy and the execution of every man, woman or child the Taliban can find that assisted our great nation in trying to establish freedom and democracy in this part of the world. Our military and its leaders did not fail, our politicians did.
But back to the point of a fig tree, here are the points we need to make about what Jesus said and did?
1. Jesus was hungry. He was fully human and fully God—He got tired, hungry and thirsty. He went to the tree and evidently told the disciples He needed something to eat.
2. He was expecting fruit. Now, He was not ignorant of the season and He knew that it was not the time that fig trees produce figs… but Jesus was making a bigger point: The nation of Israel was also not producing the fruit God expected, and would soon it whither because of it. Within a few years the Romans would cut down the nation of Israel and tear the temple apart and for 2000 years the nation would whither.
Jesus was, I think, suggesting the same accounting from any one that bears the name “Christian, Catholic or Evangelical”. We’re not supposed to be some sort fat babies gulping down more and more milk or in need of getting our diapers changed, were supposed to fruit bearers—fishers of men—-soldiers for the cause of Christ! Are you bearing fruit?….have you become the new creature Jesus talked about? Are you washed in the blood and living as a new fig tree—-one that supernaturally bears fruit year round? He came to graft you and me into the tree of eternal life and fruit—-Himself.
Again, it was not the season for figs, but He was making the message clear: the time to bear fruit is the time the Master comes looking for it. Beware of telling Him you’re not ready, or you have a headache, or it’s not the right time for you to be about His work, or you need some more experience before you can bear fruit or some more fertilizer, or you’re doing something more important. The time to bear fruit is the time the master comes calling—and He’s not interested in our excuses or complaints. Are you bearing fruit or are you soaking up the soil, water and nutrients to go about your own exploits and pursuits?
He spoke to the tree——one of His Father’s creations—-and He cursed the tree. Is Jesus unreasonable?Does He have a “mean-streak” down His back? Of course not—-He humbled Himself and left the glory of heaven to become a baby for us, lived His life like a beggar, and was tortured to death for us. But He made a bold statement: Do something with the redeemed, restored life He’s given you!
Bear good fruit!
Be in good soil. If you’re living in a toxic environment listening, hearing and sucking in garbage you’re not going to make good fruit—-it will be anemic and it will stink!
Be connected to the source of the proper nutrients. We’ve got to be grafted into Him. He is the source of our ability to bear fruit—-not the internet or sports or our careers or even our works of charity—-HE is the vine—we’re the branches.
Don’t give up or run away when He prunes you! It’s an essential part of gardening, and fruit trees. The cutting away of dead branches keeps the vine or the tree healthy and causes us to produce MORE fruit!
We can be certain He won’t abandon us or cut us off, but we must also live our lives in an expectation that He might come calling at any moment——-and, in fact, He does—to inspect our fruit.
What are the fruits or proof that you are in good son, connected and grafted to Him and allowing Him to routinely prune you
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness, & Self-Control. Does He see these in your life?…………do others in your family and at work see these fruit?