一起读经 | 马太福音21:18-22 咒诅无花果树

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马太福音21:18-19

18早晨回城的时候,他饿了,19看见路旁有一棵无花果树,就走到跟前,在树上找不着什么,不过有叶子,就对树说:“从今以后,你永不结果子!”那无花果树就立刻枯干了。

你见过像经文中的无花果树这样的树吗?一棵树看起来很美丽,它也应当结果子,但是不知什么原因,它从来不结果子。在你的后院里,这棵树只会占地方。每一年你都等着它结出果子来,但是什么都没有。最终你把它砍了,种上了别的树。耶稣在那棵无花果树上找果子,但是找不着,他咒诅这棵树,这棵树在门徒面前枯干了。

听起来好像耶稣的行为有些冲动,但实际上并非如此。当施洗约翰传道的时候,他警告人们要为他们的罪悔改,“你们要结出果子来,与悔改的心相称,不要自己心里说:‘有亚伯拉罕为我们的祖宗。’我告诉你们: 神能从这些石头中给亚伯拉罕兴起子孙来。现在斧子已经放在树根上,凡不结好果子的树就砍下来,丢在火里。”(路加福音3:8-9)。当耶稣看见圣殿里那些兑换银钱之人,当他在圣周里面对那些不信的犹太领袖,他看见的是刚硬的心、不悔改的百姓。耶稣给他的门徒上了视觉上很受冲击的一课。一棵不结果子的无花果树不是无花果树,同样,一个不结果子的基督徒不是基督徒。

如果你的生命里有悔改的果子,你要感谢圣灵的工作。你爱神的话语,珍视神的话语。你的心对于私欲已经死去,而你对家人、对邻舍的出于爱的行为,正是来自于这颗心。你确实并不完美,这也是为什么你每一天都要为你的罪悔改。你紧紧的抓住耶稣,就像是一棵树的树根紧紧抓住给与它生命的土壤。

祷告:主耶稣啊,求你总是差遣圣灵进入我的心,让我的脚步走在悔改的道路上。求你指教我,让我永远也不把恩典当作是我应得的,不要让我在罪上变得刚硬。求你每天更新我的心,使我在生命里结出悔改的果子。我奉你的名祈求,阿们。

Matthew 21:18-19: 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.

        Have you ever had a tree like this fig tree? A tree can look beautiful, but for some reason, it never bears the fruit that it should. It only takes up space in your yard. Every year you wait for fruit to form and nothing happens. You finally cut it down and plant another.  Jesus looked for fruit on the fig tree and when he found none, he cursed it and it withered in front of the disciples eyes.

         This seems like such a rash action on the part of Jesus, but it was not. When John the Baptist preached, he warned people to repent of their sins.  “And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 9 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:8-9). When Jesus saw the money-changers in the temple and when he experienced the unbelief of the Jewish leaders during that Holy Week, he saw hardened hearts and impenitent people. Jesus gave his disciples a visual lesson.  A fig tree without fruit is not a fig tree.  A Christian without fruit is not a Christian, either.

If there is the fruit of repentance in your life, you can thank the Holy Spirit for it. You love God’s Word and treasure it. Your acts of love to your family and neighbors come from a heart that has died to your selfish desires. You are surely not perfect, which is why you are repenting of your sins every single day. You cling to Jesus as the roots of a tree cling to the soil that gives it life.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, always, always send your Spirit into my heart and keep my feet on the path of repentance! Teach me never to take your grace for granted or to become hardened in my sin. Renew my heart every day so that in my life I will bear the fruit of repentance.  I ask this in your name.  Amen.

马太福音21:20-22

20门徒看见了,便希奇说:“无花果树怎么立刻枯干了呢?”21耶稣回答说:“我实在告诉你们:你们若有信心,不疑惑,不但能行无花果树上所行的事,就是对这座山说,‘你挪开此地,投在海里’,也必成就。22你们祷告,无论求什么,只要信,就必得着。”

在这一部分里,关于祷告耶稣是怎样教导我们的呢?首先也是最重要的,我们祷告时可以确信我们的祷告会被垂听。我们不应当只是在绝望的时候才祷告,比如当其他方法都失败了,我们没有其他选择的时候。像这样的从怀疑的心里发出的祷告,确实不配得到垂听。我们在任何场合都可以向神祷告,会因为他已经邀请我们向他祷告,并且应许会垂听我们的祷告。当我生病的时候我可以祷告,我身体好的时候也可以;当我破产的时候可以祷告,我什么都不缺的时候也可以;当我害怕的时候可以祷告,我平安时也可以。

但是今天经文里耶稣应许给他门徒的、关于祷告的“空白支票”又是什么样呢?我对我的孩子充满信任,因为他们已经长大成人,他们听从神的话语。我信任他们在生命里所做的决定,我并不急着给他们建议或指导,尽管我可能常常开口建议或指导他们。实际上,越来越多的时候我发现自己在寻求他们的意见。

同样,耶稣知道你的心,他知道你想神所想的事,他知道你按着神在你生命中的旨意而祷告。你不会仅仅是想看看是否真的发生,就求神把山扔在海里;你不会求神让你赢得彩票头等奖,因为你更愿意只是为你日用的饮食而祈求,既不太多也不太少。你向神祈求,是为了有益于你信心的事,有益于你家人和神国度的事。这就是为什么耶稣要赐给你关于祷告的奇妙应许。

祷告:主耶稣啊,我祷告并不是因为我必须祷告,而是因为你已经邀请我来满怀信心的祷告,我可以奉你的名为任何事祈求。求你赐我一颗祷告的心,使我满怀信心的、按着你恩慈的、美好的旨意祷告。我这样祈求是奉你的名,阿们。

Matthew 21:20-22: 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.”

        What does Jesus teach us about prayer in this section? First and foremost, we can pray with confidence that we will be heard. We should not pray just out of desperation, when all else has failed, when we have no other options. Such prayers from a doubting heart that does not deserve to be heard at all. We pray to God on every occasion because he has invited us to pray and promised to answer our prayers. I can pray when I am sick and when I am well, when I am bankrupt and when I am well provided for, when I am afraid and when I am at peace.

         But what about the blank check that Jesus promises to give to his disciples? I have great confidence in my children, who have grown to be responsible adults who listen to the Word of God. I trust the decisions they make in their lives. I do not feel compelled to give them advice or guidance, though I may open my mouth too often to do so.  In fact, more and more I find myself asking for their advice instead.

In the same way, Jesus knows your heart, and he knows that you want what God wants. You pray according to God’s will for your life. You don’t ask God to throw a mountain into the sea just to see if it will really happen. You don’t ask to win the jackpot, because you would prefer just your daily bread, which is neither too much or too little. You ask for those things that will work for the good of your faith and your family and God’s kingdom. That’s why Jesus gives you this wonderful promise of prayer.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, I pray not because I must, but because you have invited me into your confidence to pray for whatever I might ask in your name.  Give me a heart that prays with confidence and that prays according to your gracious good will.  I ask this in your name. Amen.

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