Bearing fruit and moving mountains
1 June 2018
The structure of today’s Gospel passage seems strange. It begins with a story of Jesus cursing a fig tree for not having fruit, transitions to Jesus clearing the money changers from the Temple and finishes back at the fig tree with a message about the importance of faith. The only things that they seem to have in common are Jesus’ response.
However, this is one of those places in the Bible where the structure of the passage helps us to understand it. In fact, these three seemingly unrelated stories are all about the same thing.
With the fig tree, we see Jesus rebuke a tree for not bearing fruit or, in other words, for failing in its mission and purpose in serving God and others.
With the money changers at the Temple, we see Jesus rebuke those on the Temple for not bearing fruit or, in other words, for failing in their mission and purpose to serve God and others.
The fig tree in this story is supposed to be a visual representation of Israel’s failure to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God, as is then demonstrated in Jesus’ cleaning out of the Temple.
We, as individuals and as a whole church, often get caught up in practices that bar us from bearing fruit or, to put it another way, practices that have blocked us from serving God and other people. We become ineffective for the Kingdom of God and run the risk, ourselves, of being rebuked and cast aside by Jesus.
What is the solution to this? Faith! The faith that’s strong enough to move mountains is strong enough to clean out the areas in our lives that have become barriers in our ability to bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.
If we honestly trust God, enough to ask Him for anything, let us ask Him to remove the desires and habits that fail to serve him and His church.