There are three hard-hitting stories bearing on fruitfulness in Matthew 21.
- Jesus Curses the Fig Tree. Jesus was hungry and passed by a fig tree that had no fruit. He had no patience with it and told the fig tree it would be forever fruitless. It withered on the spot. It is clear that Jesus has no patience with fruitlessness. His highest value for His followers is fruitfulness. Perhaps it is these fruitful people whom He says are on the narrow path. All others are on the wide, more traveled path, but they are headed for profound disappointment.
- The Parable of the Two Sons. One son rebels and says “no” to his Father’s request, but then decides to obey. The other agrees to serve but does not. The religious elders judge that the first son did the right thing, and thus, they condemn themselves. It sinks in that Jesus puts the elders in the second category; they agree to serve but then do not. However, between the lines, it is clear that Jesus prefers followers who will both agree to serve and indeed serve to produce fruit.
- The Parable of the Vineyard. This is where the tenants beat and killed the master’s servants when they came to get his fruit, and then killed the landowner’s son when he was sent so they could have the entire inheritance – or so they thought. Finally, the landowner returns and gets rid of the evil tenants and brings in new tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons. Jesus informs us that the Kingdom of God will be given to those who produce fruit.
Where are you on the spectrum of Kingdom fruitfulness? What are others saying about you? What will Jesus say about you? Note that Jesus is the judge. One way to be fruitful is to be engaged in mission. Sign up or login as a fruitful next step.