We all have expectations. We go to a restaurant and we expect to have a good meal. We go to a movie and expect to enjoy it. We have expectations on how people respond to us. And when those expectations are not met, we become disappointed. To be disappointed is understandable. In the same way, Jesus has expectations of us. When we fail to meet those expectations, Jesus is disappointed.
An example of Jesus’ expectations for us occurs when he comes across a fig tree and curses it for not bearing fruit.
It’s Monday, the day after Palm Sunday, when Jesus triumphantly enters Jerusalem riding on a donkey. It is very early in the morning and we see Jesus walking down the road with his disciples. He stops and notices a fig tree on public land. Since He may not have had breakfast yet, he may have noticed that this particular fig tree had leaves on it. We read from Mark 11:12-14; “The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”
When you come across these verses, our first thought is that Jesus probably woke up a little cranky that morning. On a Monday morning, who isn’t a little bit cranky? Still, we join the disciples in being bewildered on why Jesus is cursing a tree for not having figs when it wasn’t even in season yet? What is his motivation? Why is he so severe? To help answer these questions, we need to know a little bit about the nature of fig trees. Around Jerusalem, fig trees will normally begin to show leaves in March or April, but usually will not produce figs until all their leaves are out in June. What makes the fig tree unique is that the fruits and leaves will grow at the same time. This particular tree that Jesus finds appears to be an exception for it already had all its leaves. As a result, Jesus had every right to expect to find fruit on its branches. The tree, from a distance, gave every appearance to have fruit, but none was to be found. Disappointed, Jesus sternly says, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
Jesus has the same expectations for us. He expects us to bear fruit. The only way we can produce the fruit that Jesus expects is by remaining connected to him (John 15:5). We are described as branches in the gospels, not trunks nor roots. Any branch that is connected to Christ will bear fruit. Those who detach themselves from the trunk of Christ, will not bear fruit. In fact, they are cursed.
What type of fruit do you bear?
Those who remain in Christ will bear fruit for eternity. We can take God’s Word for that.