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Holy Monday – Matthew 21:18-32

April 6, 2020

Apparently, Jesus woke up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.  Hungry for breakfast, he searched the fig tree for fruit but found nothing but leaves. 

So he cursed it and it withered.  Then when he entered the temple, the chief priests and elders confronted him “Who gave you the authority to do what you are doing?” So he answered them with a question … and because they said they didn’t know, he said to them, “Then neither will I answer your question.”  Well, hmph!  So there!  What is the use of a tree if it doesn’t bear fruit?  What’s the use of answering a question if the answer is simply going to be twisted?  We’ve all been at that point … exasperated, frustrated, just DONE!

To those who would listen, he explained himself in a riddle.  There were two sons, each asked to do something for the father. One defiantly says no and then does it anyway; The other says yes and then doesn’t get it done.  Which of the two does the father’s will?  The first son may not have done it willingly or easily but got the job done.  The second son was deceitful, bobble-heading agreement with no intention of doing anything.  God in Christ isn’t looking for “yes-people” who tell him what he wants to know just to be able to do what they want.  God in Christ would rather have someone whose faith is reliably fruitful, even if it always seems to be a stretch and a struggle.  

“Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive.” This does not mean that every “fig tree” owes you sustenance, nor does it mean that everyone will agree with or even appreciate you.  God is not a personal genie in a bottle, granting wishes on demand.  But it does mean that our attitudes and intentions matter; they have consequences, even as much as our actions!