“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.” (Mark 11:13) (NKJV)
Jesus lifted his eyes and saw a fig tree in the distance with leaves on it. He got excited. A fig right about now would really hit the spot. It was time to eat! In that culture, trees on the roadside provided good sources of nutrition for weary travelers. This situation was no different. Mark’s Gospel gives us a little bit of insider information. At the time Jesus walked along this roadside, it wasn't the season for figs.
Jesus was expecting the unexpected and was disappointed.
Why did he expect the unexpected? Because of the presence of leaves on the fig tree. In Palestine, fruit appears on fig trees before the leaves. So when Jesus saw leaves he got excited. Leaves were there. Surely leaves on the tree signified that there was also fruit on the same tree. In fact, the entire purpose of a leaf on a tree is to make and nurture fruit for the entire tree by trapping light energy and converting it to chemical energy. As Christians, we are, as Mark’s Gospel demonstrates, trees in leaf. In other words, we are showing our leaves. We are built in such a way, spiritually, that we are to trap the light of Christ and convert it to energy, in order to produce fruit. That fruit is the fruit of the Spirit:
"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."-Galatians 5:22-23
Please keep in mind, just like the fig tree in the passage:
Jesus requires us to produce fruit in and out of season.
Recession? Produce fruit. Anger? Produce fruit. Sadness? Produce fruit. Frustration? Produce fruit. Irritation? Produce fruit. Tumultuous relationship? Produce fruit. Somebody’s getting on your nerves? Produce fruit. Being mistreated? Produce fruit. Situation getting out of control? Produce fruit.
Do you know that this tree could have enjoyed the privilege of providing Christ one of his last meals before His act of love on the Cross. This passage occurs right before he enters Jerusalem. Instead Jesus was met with disappointment when it failed to meet his expectations.
What kind of tree are you going to be? More importantly, what kind of fruit are you going to produce? When we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit to others, we meet Christ’s expectations. May we be ever mindful of His great expectations and go to great lengths to properly display our fruit.
"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit." - John 15:1-2 (ESV)