Matthew 21: 18 Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
A little event took place the week of Jesus’ crucifixion. Many little things happened. On Monday following Palm Sunday they were coming back to Jerusalem from Bethany. Jesus saw a fig tree by the road. He was hungry. The book of Mark tells us that the time of the harvest of figs hadn’t come; the tree should have been loaded with figs. It had leaves but no fruit.
Jesus was much like us. He got hungry and thirsty. He is hungry for what you and I can give him. Jesus didn’t pick an oak or cedar tree that morning. He chose a fruit tree. It was for people and animals to eat. Trees take in the carbon dioxide that we exhale and we take in the oxygen that trees exhale. How people can say there is no God is beyond me. The fig tree could not give bacon and eggs. It could give only the fruit it was designed to bear.
You and I were saved to please the Master. We are expected to produce fruit. We have a purpose, an identity. Jesus was hungry for figs. The tree was rooted. We can be rooted in the Lord. If we’re unproductive, it is not God’s fault. We have no excuse for not bearing fruit. If we have a spiritual disease it comes from pulling up our roots from where they should be. Jesus is the true vine. If we’re willing to be rooted in him as we should be, we will bear fruit. God didn’t save us to be shade trees. We’re to bear fruit.
Don’t try to substitute what we should do with something else. To be pleasing we must bear what the Lord wants. We don’t make our own terms. Cain wanted to please the Lord but do it his way. God didn’t accept it. We must set aside our will and do it God’s way. There was no reason for this tree not to bear fruit; there was no decay or insect invasion. Otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have expected it to have fruit. There was no excuse. We say the times we live in limit or hinder us. The church was born in the midst of hard times. They stoned one of the first deacons and tried to kill some of the apostles right after Pentecost. We’ve had trouble with the devil from day one of getting saved but God blesses our efforts. The fruit will come in due season. I don’t know why this tree didn’t bear fruit. Jesus expected it to have it. Figure out how much fruit you bear. Not leaves. Fruit. This is what God expects. If we’re not bearing fruit we need to find out why. The Lord will show us.
Jesus gave this tree one chance. When he saw it didn’t bear fruit, he said that’s it. He kept walking and the tree shriveled up and withered away. The disciples marveled at how soon it happened. It didn’t fulfil its purpose so Jesus pulled the life from it. We have another chance. If you find yourself unfruitful or not as fruitful as you should be, let God prune or spray or whatever needs to be done. Let’s the roots go deep. Let the leaves shine. Bear the fruit God expects. When the Lord comes by he’ll gather the fruit to himself. He deserves it all. Let’s be productive for Jesus. May he never look and see only leaves. May he find the fruit.