Lenten Day 35: [HOLY WEEK] UNFRUITFULNESS
TEXT: MATTHEW 21:17-22
JESUS CURSES THE FIG TREE (MATTHEW 21:19)
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree? This was not a thoughtless, angry act but an acted-out parable. Jesus was showing His anger at religion without substance. Just as the fig tree looked good from a distance but was fruitless on close examination, so the Temple looked impressive at first glance, but its sacrifices and other activities were hollow because they were not done to worship God sincerely (Matt 21:43). If you only appear to have faith without putting it to work in your life, you are like the fig tree that withered and died because it bore no fruit. It is also a lesson that Christianity is not seasonal. As Christians, we are expected to be fruitful at all times not at any particular season (e.g. Lenten season, etc). Genuine faith means bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom. For more information about the fig tree, see the note on Mark 11:13-26.
IF YOU HAVE FAITH YOU CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS (MATTHEW 21:21)
Many have wondered about Jesus’ statement that if we have faith and don’t doubt, we can move mountains. Jesus, of course, was not suggesting that His followers use prayer as “magic” and perform capricious “mountain moving” acts. Instead, He was making a strong point about the disciples’ (and our) lack of faith. Jesus took occasion from this to establish their faith in God. He told them that any difficulty could be overcome by faith. To remove a mountain denotes the power of surmounting or removing any difficulty and trials which they would be called to endure in preaching the gospel. In this sense our Lord’s words are to be well understood. He that has faith will get through every difficulty and perplexity; mountains shall become molehills or plains before him. The saying is neither to be taken in its literal sense, nor is it hyperbolical: it is a proverbial form of speech, which ought not to be misunderstood.
ASSURANCE (MATTHEW 22:22)
This verse is not a guarantee that we can get anything we want simply by asking Jesus and believing. God does not grant requests that would hurt us or others or that would violate His own nature or will. Jesus’ statement is not a blank check. To be fulfilled, our requests must be in harmony with the principles of God’s Kingdom. The stronger our belief, the more likely our prayers will be in line with God’s will, and then God will be happy to grant them.
In order to get salvation, there must be, (1). A conviction of the want of it: this begets, (2). prayer, or warm desires in the heart: then (3). The person asks, i.e. makes use of words expressive of his wants and wishes: (4). believes the word of promise, relative to the fulfillment of his wants: and (5). receives, according to the merciful promise of God, the salvation which his soul requires.
Our fruitfulness as Christians should not be impaired by the difficulties we face; rather, we should convert every difficulty into a useful tool for achieving maximum fruitfulness. One of the earliest commands God gave to man is to be fruitful; any unfruitful Christian is un-useful (a disaster to Christianity), and deserves to be cut down. HOW MANY CONVERTS HAVE YOU GIVEN BIRTH TO FOR CHRIST? HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE YOU LED TO CHRIST THROUGH YOUR GODLY CHARACTER DISPOSITION (Mat 5:16; Hymn 62 stanza 4 – let us with our manners call others to come); OR ARE YOU AN INSTRUMENT OF DESTRUCTION RATHER THAN CONSTRUCTION? SEARCH YOUR WAYS, AND DO THE RIGHTS THINGS.