The Fruitless Fig Tree
Matthew 21:17-19 “And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany, and He lodged there.
Now in the morning, as He returned into the city, He hungered.
And when He say 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 for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.”
(In Mark, it was the next morning that they saw the fig tree withered…..from it’s roots, up. Mark 11:20-21)
Here is the only thing our Lord cursed while here on earth……the fruitless fig tree.
(The fig tree’s leaves, were what Adam and Eve put together to cover themselves after their sin! Genesis 3:7)
This was the last week of Jesus life here on earth, and He has been in the city of Jerusalem teaching during the day…but at night went out to Bethany.
(It is interesting to note, that the Lord never spend a night in the city, after He rode into Jerusalem as “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna to the Highest.” Matthew 21:9.
He left Jerusalem, and went out to Bethany: home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus)
In the morning, walking back into Jerusalem, Jesus was hungry,…..when He saw a fig tree that had leaves.
(Fig trees first produce the beginnings of the fruit of figs, at the same time the leaves come on….so if the tree had leaves, whether it was the time for figs or not….it should have had fruit.)
But this tree had no fruit, to satisfy the Lord.
“Fruit” is the term used by the Lord to describe what we, as His people, are to give to Him. It springs from the life He implants within us…..in obedience to His life within us.
From John the Baptist’s charge against Israel…..to prepare the hearts of the people for Jesus, which spoke about fruit:
Matthew 3:8, 10 “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the tree: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.”
And Jesus’ sermon on the mount:
Matthew 7:19-20 “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
To the end when Jesus was talking to His disciples:
John 15:2, 4 “Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch can not bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.”
“Fruit” is how we show the life of Christ, through us. We bring forth the fruit of HIs life…..in our lives.
That is what He asks from His people…..to show that we are His.
That is how we satisfy the Lord Jesus.
And this is what the Lord was showing, in cursing the fruitless fig tree. “Let not fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.”
If there is no fruit, but leaves only….it is worthless.
The leaves cover the tree, and make it look good to those who pass by….but leaves will not satisfy the Lord Jesus.
Matthew 21:20 “And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!”
After three years with the Lord, you would think the disciples would not be amazed at the fact that everything in creation, obeys the Lord…..but it was beyond natural,….yes, it was by the command of the Son of God.
Matthew 21:21-22 “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.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
Jesus was not giving a formula for rearranging landscapes……but a way….by faith (which is given to us when we receive His life in us)…….to remove from ourselves, any thing which would hinder us, from showing forth His life through us.
Whether is be a “fig tree”, which needs to be destroyed…..
….or a “mountain” which needs to be removed out of our way…..each is done, by us……by the faith the Lord has given us.
1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
As Christians, we are to bring forth fruit to God….the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and the fruit of a Christian…which is another Christian; by prayer, witnessing, or soul winning.
We are not all called to the same work…..but we are all called to satisfy the Lord Jesus Christ by giving Him the fruit of His life,…..lived out through ours.