DayBreaks for 4/11/17: A Fruitless Tree
From the Holy Week devotional guide from our church:
“Jesus was hungry…He might have been hungry…you know; so hungry it makes you angry. He was fully God, but He was also fully man so, my guess is He was hungry.
“Jesus saw the beautiful green leaves of a fig tree in the distance and He anticipated eating its fruit. He knew that if a fig tree had leaves it should have fruit, but as he searched the tree he found nothing. No fruit at all. To say Jesus was disappointed might be an understatement. If every a fig tree could be hypocritical, it was this one. Jesus hated hypocrisy. So much so that this fig tree became an object lesson to His disciples. So, what did He do? He cursed the fig tree! Interestingly enough, it died from the roots up. Its source of life had been removed.
“That same day, Jesus headed down to the temple and what did find? More hypocrisy! To the casual observer, everything “appeared” to be okay. But Jesus is no casual observer. He saw a lot of ‘leaves,’ but upon closer inspection Jesus discovered cheating, dishonesty and betrayal in the temple of all places. This was a place people came to meet with God, so finding hypocrisy in His Father’s house was more than the Prince of Peace could bear.
“You see, Israel was like that fig tree. It followed every ‘religious’ rule, but there was no fruit. What appeared to be flourishing with life was an illusion. In reality, Israel was spiritually dead.
“What about Judas Iscariot? Like Israel, he too resembled the fig tree. He had plenty of “leaves”. He walked with Christ, and along with the other disciples, he preached and cast out demons in Jesus’ name. He distributed the multiplied loaves and fishes. He saw eyesight restored to the blind and hearing restored to the deaf. But clearly he didn’t KNOW Christ. He had not tasted the goodness of God. He was going through the motions with no genuine fruit.
I wonder, are there areas in our lives that are beautiful with lush greenery, but upon closer inspection one would find no real fruit? Are we producing the kind of fruit Galatians 5:22-23 speaks of, But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law’?
“As we enter this Holy Week, we should ask ourselves, ‘After weekly church service, discipleship group and connect group, underneath it all, am I like Israel and Judas? Are there areas where I have only an ‘appearance’ of life? As others examine my life, what kind of fruit do they find?’
“Take time to confess these things and receive the fruits of love, faithfulness and peace from our gracious Savior. This world is filled with hungry people. Let them find in you, life-giving fruit that leads them to Jesus Christ.” – Michelle Swift, vocal director, Perimeter church
PRAYER: Lord, search us and show us the areas where there is an appearance of life, but no fruit. Fill us with your Spirit. May we be like trees planted by the streams of water, bearing fruit in season. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2017 by Galen Dalrymple.