Day 25 - A Fruitful Faith

Day 25 - A Fruitful Faith

Written by: Megan Sorrow

Matthew 21:18-22
In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21 And Jesus answered them, (D)“Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

This portion of the life of Jesus can almost feel like whiplash in a way. Matthew 21 begins with Jesus triumphantly entering the city of Jerusalem on a donkey. The people respond by laying their clothes and palm branches on the ground for Him to ride over, shouting “ Hosanna” and recognizing Him as the Messiah come to rescue Israel.

Then in the next moment He enters the Temple, angrily overturns the moneychanger tables, condemning the religious leaders for allowing His Father’s house to become a den of thieves.  He essentially takes back the House of God from the hands of those who would often take advantage of others, making it difficult for people to make sacrifices or come near to the presence of God.

Of course the Religious leaders were indignant at all these events taking place, which brings us to the Fig tree. This passage might appear like a random outburst of anger from Jesus, but in light of the events that just took place it seems Jesus has more to say about the religious elite than a fruitless tree…

You see, the state of the temple had become the state of the lives of the religious elite. Pride and the pursuit of self-righteous prosperity had crept in and set up shop. Instead of creating space for all people to easily access God’s presence.
Rather than leading a life of faith that was evident in the way they loved others, they took advantage of the poor and the marginalized, under the guise of devotion to God and His law.

In approaching the Fig tree we see a symbolic parallel between a faith that is evident by its fruit, and the result of a life that pursues Pride rather than people. The fig tree had no fruit, much like the religious elite. Much like them, the lack of fruit in one's life reveals the lack of the Holy Spirit.

The author of James asks the question “what good is it…if you say you have faith, but don’t show it by your actions.” The evidence of our faith is always revealed by our actions. The lives of the religious leaders were lifeless, much like the withering fruit tree.

However, Jesus tells the disciples that prayer rooted in faith can do amazing things. Because A fruitful faith comes from a faithful life. When we are in a genuine relationship with the Father, the result of that relationship will be evident in what we do and how we live. James continues in saying …” just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works. 

The Gospel is beautiful because it is what saves us, but the Gospel is beautiful as well because it is what changes us. The Gospel transforms us to be like Christ in every way. If we obediently follow Him in faith we are changed by His love and we will see His love change the world. 

What does your day look like?
Where can you show a measure of faith that will display the love of God to the people around you? 

Holy Spirit, help me to display the kind of faithfulness in my life that displays the fruit of someone who belongs to you. Make me attentive to the needs of others around me, and aware of the opportunities you give to display faith in Christ. Help me to live a faithful life that comes from fruitful faith.