by Pastor Anthony Pranno
Most of us are familiar with what happened on Palm Sunday: Jesus rode a colt to the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem while people waved palm branches and lined the road shouting “Hosanna!” But what happened next? While we focus on Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, we can miss the powerful teaching and life-changing events that occurred on the days in between.
On Palm Sunday evening, Jesus and the disciples went to Bethany to spend the night. The next day (Monday) both Matthew and Mark record that Jesus came upon a fig tree. When he found that the tree had no fruit, he cursed it and it withered. The fig tree was often used in the Bible to represent Israel – the people of God. Jesus’ curse of the fig tree was a denouncing Israel as a nation for what it was about to do to him as well as a statement against unfruitful “Christians,” who claim to know Jesus but whose lives show no evidence of an authentic relationship with God.
Today, the Monday before Easter, may we be reminded that we can be either spiritually alive or spiritually dead. Our outward appearance means nothing compared to what’s going on in our hearts, our faith, and the actions that show evidence of that faith. The ultimate lesson we can learn and apply today is that of the fig tree: every follower of Jesus should bear spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23), not to earn his/her salvation, but as evidence of salvation. Jesus expects all his children to “bear much fruit” (John 15:5-8), so let’s get out there and do it!