“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.“ Luke 6.43-45
Good trees, bad trees, figs, thorn bushes, grapes and briers. When Jesus taught, he did so using object lesson after object lesson. This is perhaps why when I teach the early elementary at Faith Academy I almost always bring my “super cool magic backpack” filled with items to illustrate my Bible lesson.
I can just imagine Jesus sitting, this was the rabbinic custom, teaching all those who would lesson but primarily his disciples. He would gesture to those objects around him, a fig tree or a thorn bush in this instance, and from them give simple faith lessons the people could understand.
“Do people pick figs from thorn bushes?” he would ask while gesturing to the thorn bush to his left. “Do grapes come from briers?” He’d say while carefully holding a portion of the thickly covered thorny bush. Jesus used common place objects to illustrate deeply spiritual truths.
In this teaching, he was describing how good trees bear good fruit and bad trees bad fruit. And, a “good person brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart,” whereas “an evil person brings evil stored up in his heart.” “For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
I’m convinced those listening not only walked away with an eternal spiritual principle, but also each time they looked at figs and grapes, or thorn bushes and briers, they might remember the good fruit-bad fruit analogy. It was simple but so in-depth that even the religious scholars would ponder on his words for the next two thousand years.
But the lesson for us is still applicable— out of a heart of good, good words come. Out of a heart of evil, evil words come. So make sure your heart is good, store up this goodness, and let encouragement, good talk and godliness come out of what you say and what you do.
Jesus words are as applicable today as they were back in first century Judaea. They are words by which we might live, move and have our being.
So let’s practice abiding by his words right now. Say only good things out of your mouth and your heart will be good as well. God will be honored and your life with be blessed by his presence.
“O Lord God, I trust you. You are good and faithful. Come now, Holy Spirit, speak words of life to me. Even when my days get stormy, when difficulties come and threaten to dismantle my sanity, you are good! You are present. You are here. Draw near to me Lord Jesus. Heal the brokenness and restore what was lost.