Summary: Jesus is looking for more than a beautiful appearance. He is looking for fruit to fill the void in the Body of Christ.
Pastor Jim May
Matthew 21:18-22, "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive."
A teacher was grading a science test at home that she had given to her elementary school class and was reading some of the answers to her husband as they sat in the study. The subject of the test was "The Human Body," and the first question the students had to answer was, "Name one of the major functions of the skin." One child wrote: "To keep people who look at you from throwing up."
I want us to look at this story of the fig tree tonight and wonder if God feels like throwing us up, or like Jesus says in Revelation 3:16, "…I will spue thee out of my mouth."
On the next morning, after the day of the Triumphal Entry, Jesus was on his way back into Jerusalem from Bethany. He had already cast out the moneychangers from the temple, healed the blind and the lame that came to Him, and had shut the mouths of the Scribes and the Chief Priest.
It had been a busy day because Jesus was all about business. He wasn’t here, in this earth, in the form of a man, to play games with the devil. He was here to defeat the devil and redeem the souls of men who were lost without God.
Don’t let us ever forget that Jesus’ number one passion is that lost souls will be saved. Too many churches today have lost sight of that all-important mission and have gone off on tangents to build huge social clubs and grand buildings as monuments to the men that build them, but they forget God’s first love – lost souls.
My friends, we can give people all the social interaction we want to but that won’t save them.
We can have “Wednesday night Live” dinners like one church I know of, who comes together in their midweek services, not to hear a Word from the Lord, or to see souls saved, but for a church social dinner and dancing in the gym. We can build a “sanctuary” that will seat 20,000 people and we can fill those seats if we just bring in some dazzling entertainment and big name starts that will come just to get the offering that is collected - but most of the people in that setting will still be sitting there after the Rapture of the church because they are leaning on a false belief that just being a part of the church will save them in the end.
That’s what Jesus saw when he looked at the people and nation that He had chosen to be a people separated unto Him. Israel wasn’t even close to living by the law and standards that God had placed upon them. They were pretty to look at with all their religiosity and priestly robes. They had every outward appearance of being a nation that was blessed; a nation after God’s own heart - but that was only on the outside.
Once you got past their priestly robes, their religious festivals and their religious traditions, you would find that they were a nation that was spiritually bankrupt and morally destitute.
I believe that’s what Jesus is pointing to when we read about His encounter with a single little fig tree by the side of the road.
On the way back into Jerusalem the very next morning, Jesus was hungry. His body longed for something to fill that void that he felt in his being. He needed something that would bring new strength, new vitality to his body, so that He could continue the work that was set before Him. The man, Jesus Christ, was hungry. His flesh needed nourishment.
But I believe it went much deeper than that. It wasn’t just the man, Jesus Christ, who was hungry – it was also the God, Jesus Christ, who was searching for something that would add to His glory and His majesty. God was looking for some fruit that He could call His own.