Matthew 21:18-22 Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.”Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?”
Every time I read these verses, I’m impressed by the Holy Spirit that there is more to them than what meets the eye. Now, knowing there is nothing extra nor any fluff in the Holy Word and that God intended these verses to be where they are and to say what they say, there must be a very good reason for them.
There is a very important point in the above verse of scripture. I often wondered why Jesus would curse a tree. I wasn’t surprised the tree immediately withered and died – just that he would do that. Seems to be completely out of character for him until we consider that he is the Lion of Judah who will also tread the winepress of the wrath of God. In many places in scripture, God makes a deposit into someone’s life of talent, time or money and he expects a return on that investment – fruit if you will permit the analogy.
The whole idea of looking for fruit isn’t new. We see that in several places in scripture. The fruit the Lord is looking for is that, that honors God, that which is righteous and worthy of praise or sometimes just plain obedience.
2 Kings 19:30 And the remnant who have escaped of the house of Judah Shall again take root downward, And bear fruit upward.
Psalm 1:3 He shall be like a tree Planted by the rivers of water, That brings forth its fruit in its season, Whose leaf also shall not wither; And whatever he does shall prosper.
Psalm 92:14 They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,
Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.
Jeremiah 17:10 I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.
So, you can see our fruit should be something good and wholesome, and the Lord desires to see our good fruit. The most pertinent sets of verses in my mind are:
Matthew 7:16-19 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Luke 13:6-9 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’ But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that you can cut it down.’ “
John 15:8 By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.
Thus, if we do not bear good fruit, or bear no fruit at all, the Lord is just and must reward the lack of fruit too!
Psalm 37:22 For those blessed by Him shall inherit the earth, But those cursed by Him shall be cut off.
Proverbs 3:33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the just.
Luke 19:21-22 For I feared you, because you are an austere man. You collect what you did not deposit, and reap what you did not sow.’ And he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant. You knew that I was an austere man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.
Luke 19:26:27 ‘For I say to you, that to everyone who has will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.’ “
The Lord called this last man a wicked servant! Oh woe is me that something like that should happen to any of us!
The point is – if we won’t bear good fruit – our lives will be cursed, we will loose the favor of the Lord and our candle will be extinquished. My step father often tells me some people will be saved in their ignorance, for to whom much is given, much is expected and required. And, we have been given very much indeed!
Its not enough to sit back and rest when we get saved. The Lord paid an extreme price to ransom us and he deserves our very best in return. We must be light to darkness, life to death and hope where there is none. Jesus gave us his authority and we are accepted in the beloved! Walk the walk – speak life everywhere you go – help the bound and downtrodden and cleanse the leper. Give freely of the life of the Spirit!
Father, we thank you and praise you for a clear understanding of your Word and your ways. We thank you and praise you for Jesus, the Holy One of Israel. We adore you Lord and we offer our lives as living sacrifices in return for all you have already done! We bless you Lord and praise you for you alone are worthy of it! Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear, bless us with discernment so we know which way is the right way in every situation and give us the courage to take that road and stand. Help us Father so that at the end, we hear ‘well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ I pray in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen!