With this text we come to the end of Luke’s Sermon on the Plain. Jesus is addressing his would be followers and rounds up this discourse with three examples; a tree that bears fruit, the treasure of our heart and the foundations on which a house ought to be built. These three examples seek to serve as a litmus test of true discipleship.
Jesus begins with a categorical statement that leaves no room for ambiguity. If you are a good tree the fruit will be good, period! The people at the time of Jesus would have no problem in recognising the examples that Jesus cited. Fig trees were a symbol of fertility, peace and prosperity while the grape was a symbol of joy (no prizes for guessing why). Opposed to this imagery was bramble and the thorns whose usefulness was limited to it being used as firewood.
What we produce is also a reflection of what we are fed with. The sermon on the plain was a call to the disciples who wished to follow Jesus, the reconstituted Israel. Their way and manner of life was to be lived in conformity to the teachings of Jesus as reflected in Luke 6: 20-38. Effective compliance to this teaching can only come from a heart that has been converted to a gracious God as proclaimed by Jesus. However we may comply with some teachings and leave out those that truly challenge us. What are the teachings I avoid that hinder the output of my spiritual fruit?
Each tree is known by its fruit; ask yourself, what do I produce? But even more every choice I make in life also determines the output and quality of the fruit one bears. Are we truly happy with the fruit we produce? A mere superficial conversion will not produce even tiny fruit leaving us with only leaves.
For Jesus the foundations of any person must be built on rock and Jesus is the rock. Storms are a reality and while they may not be descending on us right now it does not mean that they wont hit us at all. The foundation of our lives must be based on the teachings of Jesus and this determines how we respond to the storm when it finally hits us.
Finally, the teachings of Jesus are not only the foundation of faith but also are a testimony of our character; like good fruit they are seen and desired by others. Many people strive to protect their reputation rather than foster a character. Your reputation is ten percent of who you are and perhaps that which is most visible like a fruit. What is crucial is the roots that are not seen; roots that represent our character and which constitutes ninety percent of who we are. These roots must be anchored to the teachings of Jesus as espoused by Jesus in his sermon on the plain.