Click for today’s readings: 2 Samuel 17:24–18:8; Acts 22:30-23:11; Mark 11:12-26
Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree is an interesting event sandwiched between his triumphal entry into Jerusalem and his cleansing of the temple. Jesus comes to the tree, hungry and expecting to find fruit, even though it is out of season. On the surface, this seems unreasonable. However, we need to look at this event in light of other biblical passages.
In the Old Testament, Israel was likened to a fig tree. Jesus’ reaction can then be seen, not as a condemnation of the tree itself, but for what it represents: the current religious leadership of Israel. The religious establishment was like the tree, full of leaves but not fruit. From a distance, everything looked normal but on closer inspection, they lacked the fruit of true followers of God. In Matthew 15:8-9, Jesus quoted Isaiah saying, “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far away from me. But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.”
If Jesus came near and looked at our individual churches today, would he find all kinds of window dressing but no fruit? On closer inspection, do others see the fruit of the Spirit that Paul mentions in Galatians 5:22?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, help us bear the fruit of your Spirit each and every day, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today’s devotion was written by Steven King, Pastor of Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Lincolnton, NC.