2021_03_17 Insight Post- Rusty Coram
This week's reading- Matthew 21 & 22
“In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, 19 and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up.” Matthew 21:18–19 (NLT)
If I were one of His disciples, I would have found this event a bit perplexing the same way they did. It seems out of character for Jesus to get mad about a tree that didn’t have fruit …was this just a matter of Him being “hangry”?
A closer look into the context tells us more. Jesus is approaching the time when His enemies will have Him arrested and unjustly sentenced to death under the false pretense of honoring God. The religious leaders are more interested in their power and influence, than with humbly serving God. Their self-deception has blinded them to the point that they will justify lying, deceit and murder, all in God’s name. The fig tree illustrates this. It looks like a healthy fig tree and has lush leaves on display, but the problem is that it’s all show. Without figs the tree is not fulfilling its purpose - it’s merely impressing at first glance, without producing fruit. This is analogous to the religious experts (soon, Jesus will be highlighting their phoniness a lot) who are all show and far from living lives that honor God. Those who truly know and follow, will have growing evidence of God’s character and values (fruit) in their lives things like “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22).
The application for you and me is clear - God isn’t impressed with our pretending to be spiritual and together. What He wants is for us to humbly yield to Him, and set our sights on becoming more and more shaped in the image of His Son, our Savior.