Thoughts from today’s reading of Matthew 21…
18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
I read a great quote from the dean of Alliance Theological Seminary on something that I’ve been thinking a lot about as we wrestle with faith – our credibility. Here’s what he wrote: “Credibility is not earned by perfection or else none of us would have it. Credibility is earned by honestly admitting our mistakes and sins showing through our scars how we have gained wisdom.”
Our credibility as a follower of Jesus Christ is never determined by anyone else but Jesus Himself. He is the One who says we are who we are. And it’s from that place that our credibility before the rest of the world in representing Jesus Christ flows. Again, as Dean Walborn wrote, it’s not about perfection or performance. It’s about the consistency, depth (sorry, couldn’t think of another C!), and congruency of character. Bill Hybels describes character as who we are when no one is looking. Actually, there is always one who is looking – Jesus Himself. We can fool everyone else, but we cannot fool Him. Which takes us to today’s text.
I always thought that this fig tree had gotten a raw deal. I used to ask myself - Why did it deserve to be “cursed” like that by Jesus?! I mean, just because it didn’t have figs? Give it a chance – maybe it’ll bear fruit in the future! Actually, this fig tree will NEVER bear fruit. I learned that a fig tree bears its fruits at a particular season. If it does not, even when it is lush with leaves, it will never bear figs. In other words, it was only PRETENDING to be a fruitful fig tree. Jesus had nothing against the fig tree per say. What He did have an issue with was the pretense or the lack of congruence and credibility of being one of His followers. Note how upset Jesus was. I think that had to do with the “cheapening” of the credibility that He actually gives to us. We don’t have to pretend – we definitely shouldn’t before Jesus. That’s why it’s important to, as my mentor always reminded me, “keep our confessions (another C!) current.” In fact, in addressing our sins and imperfections actually brings to light the credibility that Jesus gives to us as those who are forgiven. And that to me is the beginning of bearing fruit. #desiringGod2017