In the morning, when [Jesus] returned to the city, he was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the side of the road, he went to it and found nothing at all on it but leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May no fruit ever come from you again!’ And the fig tree withered at once. (Matthew 21: 18-19)
Why would Jesus curse a fig tree? Sometimes we need to take Jesus’ actions at face value, and sometimes we need to take them symbolically.
Jesus cursing the fig tree is the latter. The fig tree symbolized the religious authorities in Jerusalem, and Jesus cursed them because their leadership wasn’t bearing the fruits of justice, love, and peace.
A few days after Jesus cursed the fig tree, He said these words to his disciples: “You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last…” (John 15: 16).
During His last week, Jesus cursed the religious leadership that didn’t produce good fruit, and then He told a new group of leaders to bear “fruit that will last.” The charge to bear good fruit that Jesus gave to them, He also gives to us.
If we are to bear good fruit, we may need to curse some of the “trees” in our lives. For instance, how about the regret tree? Does this tree bear good fruit? It hasn’t in my life, nor have I seen it do so in anyone else’s.
Or, how about the shame tree? Has that one helped you to bear good fruit in your life? It hasn’t for me.
Or, how about the envy tree? The jealously-tree? The prejudice-tree? The anger-tree? The entitlement-tree? None of those trees bear good fruit.
I encourage us to do an inventory of our “trees.” For the trees that bear bad fruit, we need to curse them. For the trees that don’t bear much fruit, we may need to trim them. For the trees that bear good fruit, we must nurture them. We do that by cursing and trimming and nurturing so that our trees of love, kindness, fairness, and faithfulness can “bear fruit that will last.”
- Do you have an attitude, habit, or practice that’s bearing bad fruit or no fruit? If so, are you willing to curse or simply let go of whatever you are doing that isn’t bearing good fruit?
- Like the disciples, Jesus chose you. Like them, He chooses you to bear fruit that will last. Are you doing so? If so, how? If not, why not?
- How might Jesus need to trim or prune you so that you could bear more good fruit for His kingdom?