Matthew 21:18-22


You must give something back
Reading: Matthew 21:18-22
Additional reading: Mark 11:12–14
K-hymns: 268, 492

Jesus was about to finish his ministry.
Then early in the morning, Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem city.
He needed to have a breakfast.
Then when he saw a fig tree with a lot of leaves, he thought:
“Since it has a lot of leaves, it will have a lot of fruits.”
So, he went up to it.
But he found no fruits.
Then Jesus realized that this tree only receive all kinds of nutrition but don’t give its fruits to the world.
So, he cursed the tree saying:
“May you never bear fruit again!”
The tree withered immediately.

The disciples said:
“Wou. How did that happen?
The fig tree withered so fast.”

Then Jesus was like:
“If you have faith and do not doubt, you can do that, too.
(4) If you have faith, you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.
If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.
If they don’t doubt, this kind of things will happen.
If they pray for something and then have no doubt, God will accomplish it.
This kind of power is available to you.”

But don’t you think that Jesus was so mean to the tree.
Why did Jesus use his power against this fig tree like that?
Why was Jesus so mad at this tree?
I don’t think Jesus was just hungry.
Using this fig tree Jesus was giving a warning.

Another time, Jesus told this kind of story: Luke 13: 6-9
A man had a fig tree in his vineyard.
He went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.
So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard:
“For three years I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any.
Cut it down!
Why should it waste my land and my soil?”

Then the man replied:
“Sir, leave it alone for one more year.
I’ll dig around it and fertilize it.
If it bears fruit next year, fine!
If not, then let’s cut it down.”

Basically this person is saying:
“Let’s be more gracious to it one more year.”

God provides sun and water to this tree.
But it only receives and receives and receives.
It receives good energy from sun.
It receives good nutrition from the land.
It receives good stuff.
But this fig tree contributes nothing back.
It gives nothing back to the world.
This tree is supposed to produces good fruits.
This tree is there to give something back.

God is not asking the fig tree to produce apples or orange.
God is asking it to produce figs.
It is natural.
It is their gifts.
That is what fig tree does.

When it produces fruits, God will be happy.
God will look at the fruits and rejoice, saying:
“This is good.
That is good.
Thank you for these wonderful fruits.”

Telling this story, Jesus is saying to people:
Just like God does not like that fig tree has only leaves, God wants people to repent and produce good fruits.
God wants people to return to God, trust the promise of God and come clean and then bear God’s fruits.
For this goal, God provides faith and good promises and good words to people.
God provides prophets faithfully.
God provides good energy for them.
God provides hope.
God helps them to have faith.
God works in their lives.
Then God wants to serve others through them.
God wants to produce wonderful fruits, through them.
Then God will be happy for them when they produce something positive.

Otherwise, people may experience something like curse.
So, Jesus suggests the way of blessing instead of curse.
If we obey Jesus and learn to produce good fruits, we enter into the life of blessings.
When we live the life of giving, we enter into the life of blessings.
If you obey what God says, you live a happy life.

Jesus shows that those who believe in him can produce good fruits.
It is natural.
Jesus will help them produce something good.
Jesus will help them to believe in God so that they can produce something good.
It is natural.

This may apply to each nation, each city and each church.
This applies to the Jewish nation.
This may apply to Korea.
This applies to USA.
God gives and provides and expects that they produce something good.
Each person, each nation needs to allow God to produce something good through them.
God provides good stuff expecting this result.

But if some nation or some people do not want to serve others, they may wither.
They may be cursed.
If they are not interested in producing anything good even though they have received God’s grace and mercy, they may wither.
They may experience something like being cursed.

When I didn’t know this fully, I also lived like that before.
If there are two choices, I chose to receive, instead of giving.
Then I experience a curse, rather than blessings.
Then I have to pray saying:
“God, help me to serve you fully despite the time I wasted.”
Then when I live a life of giving, I rather experience blessings.

So, don’t make my mistakes.
Serve God instead.
If God wants you to study, study for God, for people for the world.
If God wants to you to work, work for God, for people for the world.

We are here to obey Jesus.
Jesus wants to produce some good fruits through us.
For this glorious goal, Jesus even promised us:
“If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
If you believe, God can produce something good through you.
If you believe and obey, Jesus can change your life.
So, ask God to help you to believe and obey.
Then God will be with us blessing you and enriching you even more.”
God is with us.
We just need to allow God to produce something good through us.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving so much.
Now, we offer our life to you.
Use it and produce something good through us.
We pray in Jesus’ name.