In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry, and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” And immediately the fig tree withered up. Matthew 21:18-19
The fibbing fig tree was a symbol of the hypocrisy of religious leaders who looked fruitful on the outside. But their lack of intimacy with God refuted a real, connected relationship with Him, and thus provided nothing substantive to those hungry for God’s fulfillment. Here is Jesus, the long-awaited Savior, whom they claimed to know, yet did not recognize. Instead of honoring Jesus as Messiah, they sought to slay the very source of their salvation.
I find it poignant that this conversation with the tree occurs in the last week of Jesus’ ministry. It is Passover week, which is the week when everyone examined the lamb that atoned for their sins. One day earlier, the Lamb of God, Jesus, rode into Jerusalem on a donkey’s back. It fulfilled yet another prophecy that these religious leaders should have recognized from countless hours reading the Law of the Prophets.
As we look this week, at the theme of who Jesus is, I believe we see Him in this passage of scripture. We see Him as the One who is worthy of worship.
John 4 recounts an encounter between Jesus and a Samaritan woman at a well. The where of worship preoccupies her, much like it did the religious leaders in Israel. Jesus, with patience and love, reminds her that worship is about Who. He makes it clear when saying, “God is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) The fruit of our adoration feeds not only our own lives but overflows with the fruit (visible evidence) of a relationship. .