Imagine for a minute…
You go to your favorite restaurant. You order your favorite meal accompanied by your favorite drink, which is a clear soda…maybe sprite. Soon, they bring your drink. You decide to wait to drink it because you want to eat it with your favorite meal. When your food comes, you begin to eat. Then you get ready to take a drink. As you get ready to wash down that food with a nice bubbly drink, your mouth is met by the taste of a flat beverage with no spark, whatsoever. As the confusion overwhelms you, you take a closer look at the drink and realize there are no bubbles! It’s only water! How disappointing!
You may be wondering where I’m going with this, but keep reading, I have a great point…
“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.”
Mark 11:12-14 NKJV
In the New Testament, John Mark gives a recount of what Peter had taught and told. In the scriptures above, John Mark tells of the time when Jesus and his disciples had just returned to Jerusalem. It was a few days before Jesus’ crucifixion and the people greeted him with great fanfare and expectation. The next day, as Jesus was heading back out, he found himself hungry. From afar, he saw a fig tree in full leaf. Background: On a fig tree, leaves come in before fruit does. Although, it was out of season for the fig tree, it still had the ability to produce fruit. There is something that a fig tree has called a breba crop. The breba crop is a crop that develops on a common fig tree,in the spring, from the previous year’s shoot growth. So, with this in mind, Jesus had every right to believe that the tree would have fruit. But when he walks up to the tree, he is met by a fraud. A tree full of leaves with no fruit! When Jesus discovers this, he curses the tree.
So, what does this mean? Well, In the Old testament, the fig tree had been one symbol for the nation of Israel (Hosea 9:10). If you look at the placement of the story, in Mark, you will see that it is between Jesus coming back to Jerusalem (being celebrated with great expectation) and the story of him flipping the tables. Jesus cursing the fig tree was symbolic of the coming judgement of Israel. It represented the spiritual deadness of Israel. Jesus was denouncing Israel’s worship of God. They had a form of religion, but were not in right relationship with him. Israel was producing no good fruit, so God was going to have to replant. God was about to create a new covenant. The Holy Spirit would soon inhabit those who believed in him and He would produce fruit in their lives.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV
So, what does this have to do with you? Well, I will tell you. If you are in right relationship with God, you are going to produce fruit. God desires real relationship, not our vain traditions.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”
John 15:5-8 NKJV
God expects us, the believer, to produce fruit in and out of season. So, don’t be surprised when he comes to inspect!
“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.”
Psalms 1:3 NKJV
Thought for the week: Am I lacking fruit? How am I cultivating my fruit today?