We are Known by our Fruit - The Warrior's Journey®

We are Known by our Fruit

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

. Photo by is licensed under CC By 2.0

“Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, Jesus went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’” (Mark 11:12-14) 

Was it out of character for Jesus to curse some poor fig tree for not having fruit, when it wasn’t even the season for figs? For every other miracle that Jesus performed only brought healing, provision, and life to people. None of them was hurtful or judgmental. 

Actually, we know for certain that this miracle was intended to be an illustration and sign of God’s impending judgment against the fruitless religious leaders, who were plotting to destroy Jesus. Only Mark’s Gospel divides this miracle into Part One (Mark 11:12-14) and Part Two (Mark 11:20-26). And sandwiched in between the two is the account of Jesus cleansing the temple and the chief priests opposing Him (Mark 11:15-18).  Anytime sinners oppose Christ’s attempt to save them – and others – they make themselves ready and ripe for judgment. 

These religious leaders are like the land described in Hebrews 6:7-8, which often drinks the rain yet only yields thorns and briars. Such land, says the Scripture, is close to being cursed and burned. They are like the fig tree in Jesus’ parable (Luke 13:6-8) which for three years remained fruitless (an allusion to the length of Jesus ministry). “Cut it down,” the landowner demanded.  But the gardener pleaded, “Give it one more year.  If it bears fruit, fine.  If not, then we’ll cut it down.”  These religious leaders were like the fruitless branches of the vine, which the vinedresser breaks off and casts into the fire (John 15:1-2, 6). Yes, Jesus’ curse upon the poor fig tree is meant to be a sign against the religious leaders, who not only refused to enter the Kingdom of God, but hindered others from entering as well (Matthew 23:13).   

From the beginning Jesus had warned His disciples to be on their guard against false prophets – ravenous wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15-23). “You shall know them by their fruit,” Jesus said (Matthew 7:16). “Every tree which does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Matthew 7:19). According to Jesus, Satan is partly responsible for raising up these toxic and thorn-producing plants (Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43). But every tree that the Father Himself did not plant, said Jesus, will be uprooted (Matthew 15:13).  No, Jesus’ curse upon the fruitless tree was not “out of character.” It perfectly illustrates all that awaits the toxic religious leaders. 


  • Do you consider yourself a disciple of Jesus, perhaps even a religious leader?  
  • What kind of fruit are you producing? Does it match the “fruit of the Spirit” described in Galatians 5:22-23? 
  • God’s word makes it as plain as day. We must display the fruit of righteousness. If it is absent from our lives, then we are not abiding in Christ (John 15:4-6). 

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