Advent 42-50: Fruits

Advent Day 42 of 50: Fruits

Jesus was misunderstood in his time. His call for love and peace was met with hatred and violence by the established religious leaders of the day as is evident by the judgement of the tribunal to beat and flog him and then execute him. Beyond the religious community, the people of the day were taking his words and finding a comfort zone for themselves. In fact, when Emperor Constantine called together the first Ecumenical Council in 325 with representatives from all the Christian communities, it was specifically to sort out all the different teachings ascribed to Jesus up to that time.

Jesus continues to be misunderstood even today as is evident from the many different denominations that confess different understandings of Jesus while operating under the Protestant Christian banner.

Jesus addresses this divergence from his teaching in the next few verses of the Sermon on the Mount.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

Once again, even in describing “false prophets,” Jesus points to actions as the identifier. Christianity is a religion in the present. As a Christian you interact with the world, with people, with the friends and strangers, with those who respect you as well as those who are alienated from you. A Christian is identified by his or her actions and the fruit those actions produce.

Jesus can’t be any clearer, by your fruits you will be known.

We pray from the 23 hour of St. Nersess Shnorhali’s Confession of Faith, All-merciful Lord, have mercy on all; on my loved ones, and on those who are strangers to me; on all those I know, and on those unknown to me; on the living and on the dead; forgive my enemies, and those who hate me, forgive the trespasses they have committed against me; and dispel the malice they bear towards me, so that they become worthy of your mercy. Amen.

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