"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
Today we find Jesus and the disciples again walking from Bethany to Jerusalem. On their way they come across the fig tree that the day prior Jesus had cursed for not having any fruit. The tree is now withered and dried up from the roots. What was so significant about this tree? Why would Jesus have cursed it in the first place?
The Fig Tree:
It is important to first understand that a fig tree, prior to being in full leaf, should have had fruit from the prior year’s growth. Thus this particular tree would have appeared to have fruit but didn’t. I believe that Jesus was communicating a message about those who put on a show of spirituality but never produce fruit. As we saw in Matthew 7, Jesus is very clear about the consequences of fruitlessness. It is also interesting to note that throughout the Bible the fig tree is used to represent the nation of Israel and its leaders, such as in Hosea 9 or Jeremiah 24. Not too long prior to this Jesus had shared the parable found in Luke 13:6-9, about the owner of a vineyard who planted a fig tree and for three years it had not produced fruit. He threatened to cut it down. Likewise, Jesus’ public ministry had been for a period of three years and the leaders of Israel had still refused to be fruitful. Only 40 years after this the nation of Israel was scattered, and the temple was destroyed. They had failed to bear fruit. Now unless you would be tempted to write off the nation of Israel it is important to notice the prophetic words of Jesus in Mark 13:28-31 indicating the reappearance of the fig tree before the end.
So the question needs to be asked, what does it mean to bear spiritual fruit? Bearing fruit is a matter of the heart, here are some areas to examine for fruitfulness:
- Your words - “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34b)
- Your treasures - “For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21)
- Your attitude - "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law." (Gal. 5:22-23)
Question for Reflection
- Looking at these three areas of your life, are you bearing spiritual fruit?