12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
There’s nothing more dangerous than the leafy life. And I have to ask myself in fear and trembling, is that me?
Jesus comes to a fig tree and while “it was not the season for figs,” it was the season for the edible, yet bitter buds that would later produce figs. Jesus finds only leaves and curses the tree as not even the buds are present. It withers astonishingly fast, within 24 hours.
There was a point Jesus was making and it wasn’t about fig trees. It was about the Jerusalem he would soon be entering.
Jerusalem had all the reasons to believe it was rightly religious. There were offerings, sacrifices, worship, pilgrims and more. But did they have fruit? True fruit?
When Jesus arrived he found the temple had become a marketplace. People were selling sheep and lambs and doves for the sacrifices as well as exchanging money for a price. The place of the people of God had become a great business opportunity. This was not the worship God intended.
It’s a sobering thought really. Not just about business. But that it isn’t hard for our churches and even our lives to become “leafy.” Green and full but without the fruit that God desires. A church can have good numbers, a great building, nice worship services and more and be “leafy.” A person can read the Bible, pray, go to church, give and be “leafy.” We can have all the workings of being fruitful but are we leafy or are we fruitful?
Considering that Jesus cursed the tree as an illustration, it is disturbing and a wake-up call. It’s not that we fear the loss of our salvation in Christ, but it’s that unfruitfulness is serious business.