In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, “Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe him.”
Matthew 21:18-22, 28-32
Tuesday was a busy day, as Matthew tells it. Christ curses the fig tree on the way into Jerusalem, then spends the day teaching in the temple. Tuesday brought the parables of the two sons, the tenants, and the wedding feast, lessons about paying taxes to Ceasar, the resurrection, and the greatest commandment, the seven woes to the Scribes and Pharisees, and the prophecies about the end of the age.
To focus on one specific idea from Tuesday may do injustice to the rest. But a theme emerges among Christ’s words that we may do well to heed. Phrased a question, it is this. “What does my life produce?” The fig tree – meant to produce figs – produced nothing, and Christ withered it. The son who said he would obey uttered empty words – his actions were those of disobedience.
Our intentions, our so-called abilities, the puffed-up language of “I’m going to do _____” do not impress Christ, and they do not usher in His kingdom.
Let us then align our hearts with His will. May our actions merit us worthy of our Master’s praise. May He Himself give us the gift of obedient hearts, and may we freely choose to obey.