THE CURSED FIG TREE
Reading: Matthew 21:1-22
(*) Now it's not thought particularly unusual today to talk, sing, or even play music to - your plants!
It does seem to apparently work for Prince Charles.But it is by no means a new idea - in our Bible reading, Jesus did it 2000 years ago when, in our Bible reading, He spoke to the fig tree!
(a) The story of the cursing of the fig tree is most unusual, as it is reckoned to be the only recorded time that Jesus used His miracle-working power in a destructive way!
(b) It was normally used to bring life, healing, and deliverance.
(c) But what we see here, is that rather than tell A PARABLE, Jesus literally ACTS IT OUT!!
(d) Jesus had been staying at Mary and Martha's house, and knowing from other accounts what good hosts they were, we could well wonder why Jesus was hungry.
I suppose the most probable thing is that He was eager to be about His Father's business, was up early praying and therefore had no doubt left before breakfast!
(e) The fact that Jesus hungered, shows us again how human He was - ONE TOUCHED WITH THE FEELING OF OUR INFIRMITIES - ONE WHO WAS TEMPTED IN ALL WAYS LIKE AS WE ARE, YET WITHOUT SIN!
(f) This is the Christ Who was on His way to the cross, and was soon to feel IN ALL IT'S REALITY, all the AGONY, the LONELINESS, the EMPTINESS, the WEIGHT and BLACKNESS of the WORLD'S SIN!
CHRIST'S EXPECTATIONS OF THE FIG TREE
(a) There was this tree by the roadside, with a wonderful show of foliage.
IT STOOD OUT ALONE showing great promise, because the most of the trees had not yet come into full bloom. So this appeared to be what I suppose the gardener would term, AN ‘EARLY FRUITER’!
(b) Now it seems that with this kind of tree, the fruit could often come and actually ripen, even before the leaves were fully out!
(c)So it was really quite natural for Jesus to expect to find fruit on this tree But the tree was like the title of a pop-song revived in recent years, it was a "GREAT PRETENDER"
(d) There seem to be AN ABUNDANCE OF GREAT PRETENDERS IN THE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES!
(e) There are very great dangers in pretending to be something we are not!
(f) The tree was this kind of HYPOCRITE!
THE MOST HARSH WORDS OF CHRIST TO ANYONE WERE HIS CONDEMNATION OF THE HYPOCRITES, those who were pretending to be something they were not!
(g) The tree showed promise, but was not true to that promise!
Someone who liked using big words once said, "Religious ostentation is generally barren." (Pulpit Commentary no 34, page 337) A rough translation is "Someone who makes a big show, doesn't usually have anything real in their heart."
(h) In the life of the Christian, LEAVES ARE NO GOOD, THERE HAS GOT TO BE FRUIT!
Again and again in the Scripture we are told that the Christian has got to be a fruit bearer.
(i) There is no point at all in being like this tree, and standing out in front of everyone and saying, "Look how alive I am!!"
Because, Jesus will simply come to you as He did to the fig tree, and say, "I see the leaves, but where is the fruit?"
WHAT IS PROMISED BY THE LEAVES MUST BE FULFILLED IN THE FRUIT THAT IS BORNE!!
WHY WAS THE TREE CURSED?
(a) The only worth of the fig tree is for the value of it's figs!
(b) What point would there be in having an apple tree in your garden, if it never yielded any apples! It would be quite useless!
(c) What's even worse, is the fact that it will prevent other plants around it from growing, because it will shade them from the light, and draw all the nourishment from the surrounding soil!
(d) Over and over again, the Bible emphasises that THE ONLY WORTHWHILE CHRISTIAN IS A FRUITFUL ONE! Jesus said, "By their fruits ye shall know them."
(e) There is the thought that Jesus could also have been making a point about the unfruitful hypocritical nation of Israel, which was so full of the leaves of pretence at that time!
(f) Unfortunately a church or corps can, like a nation, flourish numerically, and financially, and yet it can only be leaves without any real spiritual fruit being present! THE ONLY WORTHWHILE CHURCH OR CORPS IS A FRUITFUL ONE!
(g) What Jesus is saying through His actions in our story, is quite simply this,
THAT WHICH IS USELESS AND FRUITLESS, AND THEREBY WORTHLESS WILL BE DESTROYED!
(e) Many commentators feel that there is a high probability that the tree bore leaves without fruit because it was DISEASED! The disease was causing a malfunction in it's normal cycle.
(f) Many churches, corps and individual Christians are MALFUNCTIONING, yielding no fruit, because they have become diseased - DISEASED WITH SIN! DISEASED WITH DISOBEDIENCE OR A LACK OF LOVE!
It has entered in almost unawares, but has got a grip upon the very heart, and is carrying on it's destructive work where it cannot be seen - except in the lack of fruit!!
(g) Sin can take all sorts of shapes and forms, which is why it so often gets in unawares. Make no mistake, it soon starts it's rot - and the leaves may still be there, but NO FRUIT WILL APPEAR!
(a) Leaves can at times be quite pretty, but are absolutely no good, when it comes to giving food or sustenance to others.
(b) Unless we are yielding fruit in our lives, it is impossible for God to use us for the lasting spiritual benefit of others. And that's what we're here for!!
(c) If someone, comes along to us, looking for spiritual help and spiritual food for their soul, are we able to give them what they need?
(d) Perhaps they meet us on the roadway of life, and they see plenty of leaves in our lives - THAT IS NOT WRONG, AS LONG AS IT IS ACCOMPANIED BY FRUIT!
(e) I believe it is good that we ask ourselves this Palm Sunday, "What sort of fruit is my life yielding for God in this world?
Am I disappointing Him?"
MEETING PLAN FOR HOLINESS MEETING
Song 730 (TUNE 97)
Prayer Chorus - 211
Chorus Oh …. Heaven is in my heart
COLLECTION & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Song Our God Reigns (OHP)
TESTIMONIES & CHORUSES
Prayer Chorus no 86
Song 862 (TUNE 246)