In Matthew 21 Jesus has his triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to the shouts of many people who thought He would lead a military take over and reign as Messiah physically. Jesus then cleansed the Temple that was being used not as a house of prayer, but as a place to cheat people and make money. The next morning Jesus and his disciples came upon a fig tree that should have been producing fruit, but only had leaves. Jesus cursed it for not bearing fruit. The fig tree was just like Israel at the time, it had an outward appearance of life (leaves) just as Israel had an outward appearance of religion. Yet Israel produced no spiritual fruit, showing they had rejected God’s way of salvation through faith in the Messiah and were cut off from the life of God. Jesus’ authority is then challenged by the chief priests and elders in the Temple. Jesus responds with two parables, which show that Israel had rejected God’s way of salvation through faith in Jesus. Now others outside of Israel were embracing Jesus as Savior which was evidenced by the fruit in their lives. People can say they love God and participate in some religious activities and yet produced no real spiritual fruit, which shows they do not love God and have reject Jesus as Savior and Lord. Spiritual fruit comes from being rightly related to God through faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord. Those who are followers of Jesus through faith in Him will produce spiritual fruit, because they have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer they that live, but Christ lives in them, and the life which they now live in the flesh they live by faith in the Son of God, who loved them and gave Himself for them (Galatians 2:20). Lord, thank you for placing your life in me to produce fruit for your glory. Remind me daily that it is Your life in me that produces fruit, so that you get all the glory.
– Bryan McKenzie