Whenever I have heard the story of Jesus and the fig tree, I always wondered why he killed the tree. What was the purpose or meaning of that? This is one of those times when we have to look at context. Right after he kills the tree, the disciples ask the same question I did and Jesus talks about faith. So, obviously, the tree is a metaphor for something else, a metaphor for fruit of the Spirit.
Jesus and the Fig Tree
And as he saw one single leafy fig tree above the roadside, he went to it but he found nothing but leaves on it (seeing that in the fig tree the fruit appears at the same time as the leaves). He said to it, “Never again shall fruit grow on you!” And the fig tree withered up all at once. When the disciples saw it, they marveled greatly and asked, “How is it that the fig tree has withered away all at once?”
And Jesus answered them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith (a firm relying trust) and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to this fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will be done. And whatever you ask for in prayer, having faith and really believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:19-22, Amplified
The fig tree was a metaphor for the leaders of the Jews who were responsible for bringing forth “fruit” among the people. The problem was that they didn’t bring forth any fruit in the form of true faith in God. Jesus destroyed the tree just as the Jewish leaders would face judgement before God for their disobedience. Real faith in Christ results in the ability to move obstacles in the name of Jesus.
Bear fruit or be thrown into the fire
Jesus said in John 15:5-7, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much abundant fruit. However, apart from Me (cut off from vital union with me) you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a broken off branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me (abide vitally united to Me) and my words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.
Just as the fig tree was destroyed, so are the broken and withered branches. It is essential that we stay united with Christ so that we can bear fruit.
What does it mean to bear much abundant fruit? Please comment below.