Are you part of an effective kingdom or a kingdom set for collapse. To ask the question in an alternative way: are you connected to the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ or to the kingdom of this world? One is set for glory, the other is set for devastation.
Matthew 21:18-22 is a passage which brings these issues into focus. Our Lord has clashed in vv12-17 with the religious system which was operating under God’s name. He has rejected that system because it has become a system given over to the undertakings of this world and is no longer a kingdom which operates unto godliness.
The cursing of the fig tree on the following day is a visual aid for the disciples to show His verdict on the religious system in Jerusalem. The Lord came to the tree wanting fruit, after all He was hungry (see v18). It was not time for the fully developed fruit, but it seems in His hunger He would have been happy to have consumed the less developed spring fruit. But He found none. There was a lot of show, but no fruit. There were many leaves, but no fruit. And so it was with the religious kingdom based around the temple. The Lord’s cursing of the fig tree was emblematic of His view of Jerusalem. In an act of power He cursed that tree. The rapidity of the death of the tree astonished the disciples (see v20). This was the power of God at work. To this point of the account we have on display a fruitless kingdom and a powerful King.
When the kingdom of this world meets the powerful Lord God in Jesus Christ then this kingdom is shown up for what it is fruitless and powerless. However, it is different in the kingdom of God. Two things will come forward to show what leads to a fruitful condition and a powerful life. And when there is a lack of these elements, there is powerlessness and fruitlessness in the life. These two are faith and prayer (see v22). The believer can be involved in dramatic things (see vv21-22) if they have faith and prayer. In fact it is the believing person who through having prayer in their life has power in their life; not the religious.
This all of course links us into our Lord Jesus Christ who is the true man, the whole man, the man of faith and a man of prayer. He is the King who is fruitful and powerful. When we are connected to Him we will be displaying these dual attributes: prayer and faith. And the Lord will come and find fruit and He will be pleased.
Alas if we are of this world we will be fruitless. There may be religious show, but no fruit and no power, because there is no faith and no prayer.
Which kingdom do we belong to?