Today’s Reading: Mark 11:12-26
There is so much in this short passage of Scripture to think about and apply to our life. There is the issue with the fig tree, Jesus overturning the tables in the Temple, how the religious leaders responded to Jesus, and Jesus’ call for His disciples and us to exhibit incredible faith. However, I want to focus on that very first episode as Jesus curses the fig tree.
This encounter seems a bit unfair as Mark tells us that it wasn’t even the season for figs, yet Jesus curses the tree because it wasn’t producing any figs. However, as we look closer we see why Jesus was so adamant about cursing this tree. A closer study on fig trees tells us that the fruit on these trees appear before the leaves. Therefore, to see a fruitless tree after the leaves have appeared would be an indicator that this tree would no longer bear fruit. Jesus cursed this tree to indicate that fruitlessness in the Kingdom of God is inexcusable and even harmful. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day and even the whole religious system was like this fruitless tree. There was the appearance of fruit with all of the religious practices, but on closer look…no fruit existed. The only thing worse than fruitlessness is the appearance of fruit without the actual fruit.
As we apply this to our lives, Jesus desperately wants every one of us to bear fruit. A reading of John 15 tells us how we can remain fruitful. The key to fruitfulness is a thriving relationship with Jesus Christ where He brings us to life. But something that Jesus will not stand for in our lives is the appearance of fruit without fruit. Jesus has called each of us to bear fruit, not just look the part. The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day did an excellent job of looking the part, but there was no substance.
My prayer for you today is that you would go beyond just the appearance of fruitfulness, but would in fact experience incredible fruit as you remain in Christ. This is the place that Jesus has called us to live.
Why is fruitlessness so harmful to our world? When others around us see believers who have the appearance of fruit without fruit, what does that do to our witness? Go ahead and leave your thoughts in the comment section.