Jesus withers the Fig Tree on the road from Bethany

The Miracles of Jesus

March 30, 2021

Jesus withers the Fig Tree on the road from Bethany

Matthew 21:18-22

“I was brought up in an environment where a lot of swearing occurred. My family swore quite a bit. When I was a teen, I worked for my Dad during the summer. He owned a plastering and drywall company. At work, I seemed always to be surrounded by people who cursed. In later years, when I worked in the retail food industry, we also used extremely flowery language. Charles Colton said, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery.” I don’t believe that he meant swearing like a sailor in a bar on a Saturday night was something we should imitate.”

“The swearing was more often than not, not spoken in anger, but as I often say, “We swore like people use the word ‘the.'” Unfortunately, I can also remember many times when I swore in front of people. They would back away and shun me because of my foul language. There were times when curse words did get spoken in anger, and I often paid the price, including getting hit on several occasions because of a verbal outburst on my part.”

(Copied from my book, “Adventures in Youth Ministry.”

Chapter nine, “Language, please watch it”)

Today’s devotion immediately follows Jesus’ cleansing of the temple. On the surface, you might think His cursing of the fig tree was out of anger. Or from frustration from what had occurred in the temple. It’s not.

“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.

When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” And Jesus answered them, 

“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. And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.”

Some fig trees do produce figs before their leaves grow out. Other fig trees figs grow at the base of the leaves. Either way, the fig tree Jesus encountered was full of leaves but was not producing fruit.

He used the tree as an example of the temple and people not producing fruit. Jesus and His disciples had just left the temple, and it (God’s house) was not performing the way it should. People were cheating others when exchanging money. Even the temple Priests had the last say about whether or not your animal sacrifice was good enough. Many times, they turned animals away that were “blemish,” free and suitable for sacrifice. This forced people to purchase animal sacrifices at the temple, which the temple priests got a cut of. The temple was not being used as a house to worship God. It had become a place of sin and profit in many ways.

Jesus also expects us, as Christians, to bear fruit. We are not only to grow in the faith and God’s Word, but we are expected to spread the Gospel to others. Jesus also has told us to bear fruit by serving others as He did. (Remember the washing of the disciple’s feet?)

Finally, Jesus tells the disciples and us how powerful prayer is.

“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith.”

Without faith, prayer is an empty gesture. We pray to God the Father and His Son Jesus because we believe. We believe God created the world. We believe God sent His only Son to save us from sin. And we believe that God’s Holy Spirit was sent a Pentecost and enters us through the waters of baptism to be our guide and counselor throughout our life.

When we pray in faith to Jesus, we’re telling Him, “I believe,” in (everything I just said in the paragraph above). We believe that He, Jesus, can and will answer our prayers. Perhaps our prayers won’t be answered the way we expect or the way we want. And, they may not be answered in the timeline you and I hope for. But rest assured through repentance, faith, and prayer, they will be answered.

Dear Lord. Please forgive us for the times we curse and get angry in an unrighteous way. For this, we are genuinely sorry. We would also like to thank you for prayers answered and the many blessings we receive each day. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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