“And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’” (Mark 11:21 NKJV)
Sometimes the strangest stories have a background that clears things up. The story is that Jesus cursed a fig tree that didn’t have fruit, even though it wasn’t really the growing season. As fig trees go, though, when there are leaves, there are generally fruits. And a tree might yield more than one crop per year. There are some who believe that the fig tree is a symbol of Israel and, in the context of cleansing the Temple, cursing the fig tree was a condemnation of Israel’s fruitlessness in companionship with His denunciation of their empty worship in the Temple. On the Old Testament side, Shimei finally gets punished for cursing David, and, in effect, all of Israel, as he fled Jerusalem during Absalom’s revolt. David didn’t punish him, because of a vow he made, but Solomon let him know that he would live under certain conditions, and then Shimei was faithless to those conditions, bringing about his death.
There are lessons for followers of Christ in both curses. One of the first is that we should stay true to our word and commitments. Shimei broke the conditions he had agreed to with Solomon and suffered for that. Jesus condemned Israel as being faithless. They had the responsibility to share the joy of living as God’s children, and instead turned faith into a set of joyless, lifeless rules and regulation. They were no longer fruitful. We’re called to stay true to our commitments first to God and then to His people. We’re called to be fruitful in sharing the gospel and meeting the needs of those around us. While we aren’t threatened with curses, because we’re free from the curse of sin, when we lose our joy in serving Christ, we often turn our faith into the same type of lifeless rules and regulations that the Pharisees followed. Stay faithful to His call and live for the joy of God.
Lord, help me to be fruitful for You in all seasons. Help me to experience and share the joy of life in Jesus.