18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19 And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
As Jesus returned to Jerusalem from Bethany the morning after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he became hungry, and went to a fig tree to pick some fresh figs. Finding no figs on the tree, Jesus cursed the tree, and it withered and died. Upon seeing this the disciples marveled and asked Jesus how it withered at once.
I am sure there are many applications to this event, but I am thinking of two that are particularly relevant to us. First, trees are expected to bear fruit, and second, Jesus is illustrating to the disciples the power of faith.
We expect to produce good fruit from our fruit trees, do we not? To that end, we fertilize them and spray them to protect them from disease. We, as Christians, are also, like fruit trees, expected to bear fruit.
You know, that always bothered me as a young Christian because I did not possess a whole string of spiritual children whom I had led to Christ. Through the years, I have discovered that I had really missed the point. Christianity is a religion of the heart; if our hearts are totally given over to Christ, we do bear fruit. It is not necessarily fruit to be seen before men, but rather fruit that leads to a close walk with the Lord. God has a specific purpose for each Christian; as we walk in submission to our Lord and Savior, we are fulfilling that purpose, and are, therefore, bearing fruit.
It may seem as though the second point is an entirely different subject, but actually the two are closely related. As true fruit-bearing Christians, our faith increases as we grow closer and closer to the Lord. Why is that true?
As we live more and more in the reality of a world created by God, we are increasingly aware that this is not just a world filled with humans, plants, and animals. Rather, it is a world constantly affected by the spirit world as well. Knowing that even the spirit world is under the dominion of Christ, we live in the confidence that God and His angels are constantly at work guiding and protecting His people, and bringing more to the knowledge and salvation of Christ.
How does that affect our Christian walk? Our faith grows as we live more and more in the confidence that nothing in this world compares to the glory and joy of Christ. As the world gradually releases its effects on us, our minds turn more to the Lord, walking in communion with Him. Our desires continue to change until our desire is to live every moment of the rest of our lives for the glory of the Lord. Now, the withering of the fruit tree does not seem so strange to us, and Christ's teaching that our faith could move mountains is more easily understood.
Go out today and bear fresh figs for the Lord!
God Bless You,
All Scriptures are from the English Standard Version of the Bible.