The Unfruitful Fig Tree
I was reading in Matthew 20 this morning and came upon the scene when Jesus cursed the fig tree because it bore only leaves. Looking at the tree He said, "May no fruit come from you ever again." This may seem a little bizarre. Jesus is hungry, the tree has no fruit, it gets dusted! At least it would appear that the tree did nothing to deserve this but the text says it bore ONLY LEAVES. You see, in the spring time there is a certain kind of fig tree that bears figs first and then leaves. Not only is this a fruitless fig tree that looks good on the outside, full of leaves, but Jesus just returned from the cleansing the temple, saying "My house shall be called a house of prayer." Can you see the connection yet? There you have the praying, yet fruitless Scribes and Pharisees in the temple. Next you have a fruitless fig tree that Jesus withers because it had only leaves. It looked good on the outside but upon closer examination it revealed that it had no fruit. Jesus came to the tree to be fed. It is through our life, a fruitful life, that Jesus is refreshed. Now we can look at what Jesus says next and see that it makes perfect sense: ""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. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith." In the gospel of Mark he adds, "And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses." Can you see it now? Answers to prayer come as the result of a fruitful life. A fruitful life is the result of a life of faith. And faith grows in direct proportion to our forgiveness of others.