Where Is The Fruit? Easter Devo 1
MONDAY: Read Mark 11:12-19
On Monday of his final week leading up to the Cross, Jesus again entered Jerusalem after retreating to Bethany (where he likely stayed with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus whom he had raised from the dead).
We see him cursing a fig tree and cleansing the temple. These actions carried significance as symbolic and literal judgments on the “fruitless” people of Israel who had abandoned the true worship of God. They honored God with their lips but their hearts were far from Him (Isa. 29:13).
The fig tree had leaves…the appearance of “fruit” and “life”, but upon closer examination, there was no real fruit to be had. This was a parable of sorts concerning the condition of Israel. And Jesus pronounced a curse on the fig tree that later the disciples saw had caused the tree to wither and die.
As Jesus got into the city and went into the temple, he encountered another troubling scene. There were crooked money-changers. People buying and selling and extorting the people of God…in the temple!
And the righteous anger of Jesus began to clean house.
“My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a den of robbers!”
Not only was true praise absent from the people of God, but so were true prayer and righteousness nowhere to be found.
The “showdown” between Jesus and the Pharisees was in full effect. This would have been quite the scene. Many were amazed by his teaching, but the chief priests and the teachers of the law had had enough and wanted him dead.
Make no mistake friends. There is a great difference between dead religion and true righteousness.
There is a great difference between phony lip service and soul-stirring praise from the heart of a redeemed worshipper.
There is a great difference between religious looking idolaters whose hearts crave money, possessions, and power, and people who carry the aroma of the Spirit of God and traffic in the reality of true prayer.
There is a great difference between the flesh & the Spirit. Between hard hearts and soft hearts.
But beware, they are both often found hanging around Jesus and among the people of God.
Let us be careful to “test ourselves.” Is there the genuine fruit of salvation on our tree? Is there genuine fruit of repentance, worship, prayer, and righteousness?
Let judgment begin in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17). Let those who profess to know God demonstrate the genuine fruit that Jesus is seeking.
May we find ourselves broken over our sin and longing to be a people with whom Jesus is pleased. Let us be a people of true fruit: sincere worship, authentic prayer, and genuine integrity.
“Father, as we consider the condition of our lives and of those who profess to know You, we confess that too easily and too often we lack the fruit you are looking for. Jesus, even as you found Israel to be lost and barren, so too you first found us in that same condition. But we praise you that you have not left us there! Thank you for the life-giving, fruit-bearing work of your Holy Spirit in the lives of your people. Lord, I pray for all the people in our city that profess to know, love, and follow Jesus. May our city be filled with sincere worshippers, authentic pray-ers, and those who follow you with genuine integrity. Lord, let it begin in my heart…have your way in me. Show me any areas in my life where you are not finding the fruit you are looking for. And thank you that because of the Cross, the “old fruitless fig tree” of my life is in fact cursed and dead, and in its place you have given a new tree, a new life that has been created to bring you praise and bear new fruit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”