Israel was God’s chosen people. They were chosen by God to represent Him to the nation. As God’s chosen people they directly interacted with God, His prophets, and His chosen leaders. If anyone should know God’s will and what He expected of them, it should have been the Israelites.
But even though they knew God’s will and they looked promising, they didn’t live according to His commandments. They didn’t bear fruit. Sure, they were religious. They went to the Temple to worship. They said their prayers. They made sacrifices. They kept the religious festivals, but even in all that they weren’t obedient to God. They didn’t live according to His will because their heart wasn’t given to God.
Since Israel was unfruitful they faced God’s judgment just like the fig tree faced Jesus’ judgment when He found it didn’t bear any fruit in Matthew 21.
What Does Israel’s Actions Teach Us?
Israel’s actions teach 21st Century Christians it is not enough to be Religious. It is not enough to look the part. God doesn’t just want us to use spiritual language or do spiritual things. No, God wants more.
What God Wants
God wants us to give Him our hearts. He wants us to live for Him. He wants us to be a true follower of Jesus. He wants us to be someone who takes what He says and applies it to our lives. He wants us to bear fruit and bring glory to Him.
What Happens If We Don’t Bear Fruit?
If we don’t bear fruit and just live a life of religiosity, we are no better than the Israelites. And we will face the same fate they did – we will face God’s judgment.
Don’t be like the Israelites. Don’t be like the fig tree. Truly bear fruit. Truly follow Jesus, that’s what it means to be a Christian. Being a Christian doesn’t just involve saying a prayer or being dunked in a baptistry. Being a Christian means giving your whole life to Jesus. When you give your life to Jesus and follow Him, you will bear fruit.
What Do You Do?
Have you given your life to Jesus? Do you live according to God’s will? Do you follow Jesus? Or do you just come to church on Sunday and do some religious activities because you think you have to in order to appease God, your spouse, or your family? Which one are you?
Questions for Reflection
- Are you the true follower of Jesus who bears fruit?
- Or are you the religious person who bears no fruit?
Post adapted from my most recent sermon: The Unexpected Enacted Parable of Jesus