The Gospel According to Matthew 7:15-20
Jesus said to his disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So, by their fruits you will know them.”
Reflection: In today’s world, how can we recognize false teachers? Christ called his listeners to decide which path they would follow, Matthew 7:13-14. Would they follow the broad path that leads to destruction or the narrow path that leads to life? Jesus challenges us to not simply listen to the Sermon on the Mount but we must decide to follow his words and enter the kingdom of heaven or not.
Now, in Matthew 7:15-20, He describes why some will not enter the narrow road. They will not enter because of false profits. False prophets will guide them off the narrow path that they’re on, and onto the path of destruction. Jesus calls all of us to be aware of them…but who are they. Jesus instructs His disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who are disguised as sheep but inwardly are wolves who come to harm you. You can recognize that they are wolves by their motives and actions”.
Jesus then uses a different image. He tells them that no one can get grapes, figs or any fruit from a thorn bush. A good tree is unable to produce bad fruit and a bad tree is unable to produce good fruit. If a tree produces only bad fruit, eventually that tree will be cut down and burned. Then Jesus says: “You can recognize the false prophets by their deeds.”
Take a moment and ask yourself: In what areas of my life, am I basically a good tree, a tree that strives to produce good fruit? Tricia and I love to garden. It’s the hard work of nurturing plants to grow and bear fruit, veggies, or the flowers that we have in our garden. It’s always difficult when we fail after we have worked so hard, and something does not grow after we have fertilized and watered it. Sometimes, it’s just not enough. Rather than giving up, we dig it up, replant and start over till we get the fruit we’ve been hoping for.
Action of the Day: Today ask yourself, “What is one aspect of my life that I wish to change in order to produce more fruit? Think about this for about 10-15 minutes; then choose to make one small change that has the potential to fertilize your own garden. At the end of two to three weeks, sit quietly and ask yourself: “Am I happier about who I am? The questions will tell you whether you are being fruitful or not.