Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it. (Mar 11:12-14 NKJ)
In the midst of the narrative of the disciples getting the colt and Jesus’ procession into Jerusalem and the cleansing of the temple, we have this discourse about a fig tree. Jesus is hungry and sees a fig tree, yet we are told that it was not the season for figs, and yet he curses the tree. Now, I know that no matter how hungry I might be, if I go out into the garden and think I will find apples on the apple tree, I will be mistaken. No apples and no leaves. But, in that region, figs were prolific producers of fruit, often producing two crops a year. The fruit is always on the tree in various stages of growth, and we know that this tree had an abundance of leaves, so it wasn’t dead or dying.
What does this mean for us? Like that fig tree, the Christian should always be producing fruit, in times of blessing and suffering. The leaves represent life in general, and they are evidence that we are not dead. However, some people have the appearance of life, even spiritual life, yet they don’t produce fruit. John in his gospel talks about the gardener, pruning and even cutting down and burning the tree that is fruitless. Why, because it is a phony. I have heard people say, when they are questioned about their spiritual condition, “you don’t know my heart.” Actually, I can tell your heart condition by your fruit production.
If Jesus came to inspect your life this day, what would he find, leaves and fruit, just leaves or dead branches?