Holy Week: The Fig Tree

Continuing our series of Holy Week from Day One. It’s the next morning after Palm Sunday.

Jesus was hungry and sees a fig tree.

And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. Matthew 21:19

fig tree withered
It’s the last miracle Jesus did before being nailed to the Cross.

He went looking for figs and only found leaves.

Our faith must produce fruit.

It takes three years from harvest for a fig tree to produce fruit. But, this tree was producing only leaves which means it was rooted in good soil yet, not producing fruit.

The abundance of leaves held out the promise that the tree might produce fruit.

Jesus instead condemns it for not providing what its appearance promised. Condemns its misleading appearance that suggested great productivity without providing it.

Is it not interesting that Adam hid behind those fig leaves?

Our Christian walk must be authentic. It must be real and have a faith that produces the fruit that Jesus is looking for.

I love what Spurgeon says:

He makes a show of piety that is altogether premature—he gives signs of maturity before the season. He professes much though he yields nothing to corroborate it—a prodigy of self-conceit. He does not say he is absolutely perfect, but it needs very fine optics to distinguish the line. He outstrips all his fellows. His talk is something marvelous. His creed is more sound, his conscience more sensitive, his conduct more sanctimonious and his standard in estimating others more censorious than the rest of the community.

You are amazed at it till you come near to him and then you find it is all talk, tinsel and trumpery. "Nothing but leaves"—no real virtue, but a verdant show.

Faith must produce fruit.

It wasn’t that he was hungry for figs or was angry that there was none, He knew the days were coming to a close and took this opportunity to instruct His disciples, to instruct us, in this object lesson.

The disciples seeing the extraordinary power of Christ as He simply spoke,

Henceforth let no fruit grow on you forever

We must be that fig-bearer that produces fruit.

But, I want to take us further when the disciples marveled at what Jesus did to that fig tree.

So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. 22 And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:21-22

He spoke about the great power of God that His disciples were wondering at. Telling them that they could have that power. They could exercise it and that they could put it into practice as He did.

Four Observations of His Power

1.    It is good for us to observe the power of God. The disciples saw the power of Christ in that withering fig tree. We can find the same miracles in the nature He created around us.  Our eyes must constantly be open to see the power of God in the renewing of the earth. Observe the miracle of creation and resurrection this Spring. Look up at the stars at night and think about the incredible God we serve that knows each star by name. Being careful that we don’t get lost in the extraordinary and wonderment of it all but, we simply see that this is the way of Him.

2.    Have Faith In God. A Christian is a miracle. You and I are a heap of miracles. When we get to Heaven, we will be a miracle of miracles. For some of us, we see a huge mountain of our past sins and call ourselves unqualified. We find ourselves far away from God. Our trees withered and the mountains taller. Instead, have Faith in God. Finding our Father’s Love and Grace, His Goodness and Faithfulness.  In those places we find His Power within us. In those places we arise ourselves and speak to the mountain and produce fruit.

3.    Our Connection between Him and His Power. We believe God can do all things because we align our faith with His Power. This is the connecting link between our weakness and the Divine strength by which we are made strong. Have faith in God. Carry it with you, use it daily.

4.    I am Nothing Without Him. Samson’s confidence in God was stronger than his own physical strength. A thousand Philistines may have shouted against him, but that didn’t matter because He knew God was with him. May we have that same confidence. That every fear and doubt is overwhelmed by our faith. That we know that God is with us wherever we go and whatever trial or circumstance we face.

Christ searches through our fig tree looking for our Love for Him and our Faith in Him.

What will He find?