“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20)
I was thinking about this passage for some odd reason just today and figured – this is an interesting thought that I want to share.
Why did Jesus use fruit to define between a prophet and a false prophet? I ran that through my head today and it hit me ‘who wants a fruit tree with nothing they can eat on it?‘.
As humans we love to eat – it’s actually helping to keep us alive and make us healthy…fruit being great for that I must say. The good tree will bring forth fruit for people to eat and provide sustenance. The bad tree is one that provides nothing – or fruit that is ruined/does not mature. We usually, in a very common sense way, avoid those tree’s fruit because the fruit tastes no good.
What does it say to us? False prophets are people that appear to be saying the same things as the normal fruit trees – however they are not actually giving you any sustenance – they provide you with ideas that can be deemed more harmful than helpful. I think this is a warning about avoiding people who speak in the name of God yet do not actually teach you anything useful to your moral growth – apparently this is as easy to spot as good fruit from bad fruit.
I have always heard a false prophet was someone that was off in their theology/doctrine/sayings…I am not sure this is the point of this teaching. The point seems to be aware of someone’s actions – they define the person – and if the person teaches/shows you to practice immorality – that’s not exactly the tree you want to pick fruit from (you will destroy yourself). Avoid that tree and find one where you can eat the fruit and it will provide sustenance/growth.
In a very basic way, the analogy sets up 2 kinds of trees, fruit that is edible and fruit bad for you, and what can happen when you eat rotten fruit. We are what we eat…that seems like a fitting motto to sum this up.