In the above passage, John the Baptist speaks of trees that do not produce fruit and will then be chopped down and tossed into the fire. He said this to the Pharisees and Sadducees, the keepers of the synagogue and Temple, the places of worship.
Producing Good Fruit
How do the places of worship produce good fruit? During Jesus’ time good fruit was brought to the Temple and the synagogues. Tithes, alms and offerings were given. Too often, though, religious places held onto this wealth in terms of not just finances but also food. They could “produce good fruits” but often they didn’t, seeking instead to hoard the “fruits” for themselves.
John the Baptist began the message that Jesus would continue to teach and preach throughout his ministry – to turn away from building up the Temple’s wealth and turn toward building up the people of God, having them repent and believe in the good news. This is the message Jesus brought with him to the whole Earth starting with his birth into our human world.
“Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives.” v. 8 CEB
Dear Lord, you came to live among us, showing us the ways of God. Create in us the ever thirsting need to produce “good fruit” from all that you have given us, both as a Church and as your people. Do not cut us down but deliver us from our greed and fear. Help us to hear the cries of the needy when we remember the cry of our Savior denied a place to lay His head on the day of His birth. Amen.