And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once. (Matthew 21:19 ESV)
Every summer for as long as I can remember my dad has grown watermelons. He grows them by the thousands to sell in the communities nearby. And without fail, when I make a trip to the family farm during July I will be able to see them as I drive onto the property. Why? Because at a watermelon farm I expect to find watermelons.
The story of Jesus and the fig tree can be confusing. Why would Jesus curse a tree for not having fruit? People a lot smarter than me could probably explain it in grandiose theological terms, but I think there is a simple principal to learn. Jesus expected a fruit tree to bear fruit.
Fruit is a word often used to describe the good qualities that result in someone’s life as they mature in their relationship with Christ. It is a natural part of Christianity, as natural as finding watermelons in a watermelon patch. When I read about Jesus’ frustration with the fruitless fig tree I can’t help but think about people claim to be Christian, but evidence no fruit in their lives.
Jesus’ expects his followers to demonstrate the attributes that identify them as his followers. Not because by performing or acting a certain way we can earn our salvation, but because being a Christian should cause change in us over time. Just like a peach tree grows peaches, an apple tree apples, or a fig tree figs, Christians should demonstrate the Fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Where is your fruit?