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. Matthew 21:19
If we’re a follower of Jesus, then I believe God puts something in us that makes us want to be fruitful for God – to mature in our faith and touch the lives of others for Christ.
Why Jesus looking for the figs in the off season?
Some commentators say that fig trees bear fruit first and then the leaves appear, or both appear about the same time. Since the tree was in leaf, figs should have been on it. This fig tree had all the appearance of a fig tree that was very fruitful. The Saviour, coming to it and not finding a single fig, said, “May you never bear fruit again!”
So why did Jesus curse the fig tree? IT WAS A JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL. Many believe that Jesus saw this fig tree as a symbol of Israel (Hos. 2:12; 9:10) at that time. They professed to be fruitful, their deeds show that they were actually fruitless. So by cursing that generation, Jesus was predicting their doom and an end without fruit. Within a few days, the nation of Israel rejected their King and crucified Him, which led to war, judgment, and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70.
Other scholars say it’s a JUDGMENT ON FRUITLESS CHRISTIANS who make a show of bearing fruit but are, in reality, spiritually barren.
God is the gardener and John 15:1 Jesus clearly says that “ I am the true vine and my Father is the gardener.” Believers are supposed to be fruitful. Jesus says in the same chapter, “ I am the Vine; You are the branches. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much FRUIT…. You did not choose me, but I chose you…to go and bear FRUIT—FRUIT that will last. He[My Father] cuts off every branch in me that bears no FRUIT, while every branch that does bear FRUIT he prunes so that it will be even more FRUITFUL.”
In Luke 13:6-9 Jesus says, “So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'” ‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'”
So in all these parables Jesus spoke of believers who were NOT FRUITFUL being broken off, cursed, or dug up and thrown on the refuse pile. God plainly says we must be fruitful!
Why does God expects fruit? It’s the law of life. In Genesis 1 God made every creature — whether it lived in the air, on the land, or in the sea — to reproduce after its own kind. It is the same way in the kingdom of God; we also ought to reproduce after our own kind. It’s only natural. For the believers, fruit is the outcome and evidence of our steadfast abiding with Christ. Jesus says in John 15:4, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” The only way we will be fruit bearing Christians is if we stay connected to our only source of Divine Life – Jesus Christ.
Fruit is the manifestation of character. The Lord Jesus says in Matthew 12:33, “A tree is recognized [known] by its fruit” . Trees that produce apples, are called apple trees; likewise oranges, are orange trees; pears, pear trees; bananas, banana trees. The kind of fruit that a tree has instantly identifies the kind of tree that it is. So it is with people; whether they have good character or bad character. That is why it is so important that we let God develop Christlike character in us, or else our actions and attitudes will contradict what God has done in us.
Question to Ponder:
Am I abiding in Christ to bear fruit that God expects from me?
Have a blessed week that you would abide in Him to bear much fruit!
Justin, Angela and Jeanna,
Campus Crusade for Christ.