4 strikes? My mom would give us unlimited strikes in wiffle ball or kickball. As I got older and started playing those same games at school It was a shock to find out there was a 3 strike limit. Mom was merciful.
Usually we find Jesus being merciful, he died to save us from our sins. In this next section of Matthew 21 we see him use his authority in a different way.
“18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”’
The disciples seemed to be amazed at how he did it. I am amazed at what he did. The tree failed to have fruit but it wasn’t fig season.
Strike one! You’re out!
I’ve been hung up on this. It is scary to see Jesus as judge.
Jesus our gentle and merciful savior has authority on the earth, over the earth. This is one thing we see.
He left to prepare a home for us. He will come back as OUR judge.
We are not saved by our works, however, our works will be judged. Will we have fruit on our branches?
Here is another story about a fruitless plant told in Luke .
“6 Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
8 “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. The offer that Jesus makes to us is a one size fits all, but we must take possession of it.
Paul said this in his letter to the Romans, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”
Paul also said this in Ephesians 2,”
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:8-10 –
We are saved for a purpose. God has stuff for us to do in our lives. He has fruit he wants to produce in us, through us he wants to reach the world with the Message of Jesus. He wants to use us to produce more believers.
How are we doing with that?
If you the reader are a believer in Jesus I rejoice and celebrate with you. But I must ask you, who have you shared the good news with?
If you the reader are not yet a believer I ask you, will you receive God’s gift today?
Today is a good day to accept Jesus’ offer.
Hear an angel Chorus say “home run!!!”