Hello, beloved readers and brethren. I have been away for some time, but I am glad to be back with you once again. Today we will study Jesus’ reaction to the leafy but fruitless fig tree. Welcome.
12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. Mk. 11:12-14
All trees bear leaves. But there is no tree of which men eat the leaves. Of every tree men eat the fruit! The leaves are good but it is only in that they create the photosynthesis needed to enable the tree to bear fruit.
Of every tree, it is the fruit that men seek.
This particular tree was so leafy it almost fooled Jesus! But you cannot fool God.
I believe this scripture is an analogy for the church. The church should not try to fool God by being leafy. But it must bear fruit, the fruit of the Spirit.
The church has so many things going on. Much of it is man-made, of course, and much more comes from the devil himself. This aside, however, there is the genuine ministry of the Holy Spirit in some sections of the church. But even with genuine ministry, it is the fruit that the Lord is after! The ministry gifts are there in the church to help the church to bear spiritual fruit to the Lord. It is expected that if the church has all these gifts, then it should be bearing fruit to the Lord. The true power of God is revealed in the inner working of the Holy Spirit in men’s hearts, a work that brings the life of Christ to transform our lives.
Without this fruit in our lives we cannot but sin. The power of God’s grace comes to separate us from sin – and to make us bear fruit for the Lord.
When Jesus walked up to the fig tree, He was hungry. He needed something to eat from the fig tree. But the tree had nothing – except leaves. Jesus therefore cursed the tree and it dried up forthwith.
But didn’t Jesus have options? Yes, He did. He could have left the tree alone. But He did not. Instead, He cursed it.
This shows that if we do not bear fruit in the Spirit, we shall be cut off from Christ. On the day of judgment, He shall tell us, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Mat. 7:23).
We therefore need to make sure we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit in us. That is the singular requirement that God has of us. Anything beyond that is just leaves; but leaves are acceptable to God only if there is fruit in our lives.
The only way that I find in the Bible to bear fruit is to walk the strait and narrow road. It is to take the way of the cross, of self-denial in the Spirit. We can see that in the Book of Galatians, and elsewhere. When we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Christ, we bear much fruit in the Spirit.
That is why Paul refused to preach any other gospel except the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 2:2). He would not waste time preaching the gospels of prosperity and the blessings of God, for they could not bring a man to bear fruit in the Spirit. But Paul preached the singular gospel that would bring the church to maturity, the gospel of the cross.
[The power of God’s grace]