Promise and Performance
Matthew 21:17-21
And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.…

This parable from history teaches us the worthlessness of religious promises that are never fulfilled, and the guilt of appearing to be fruit-bearers when the eye of God sees nothing but leaves. There is no sin in promises. Cherry-trees must issue their white and fragrant " promissory-notes" in May, or there would be no payment in delicious fruit at the end of the allotted sixty days. God makes precious promises to us; and a converted heart is only in the line of duty when it makes a solemn promise or covenant to the church and its head, Christ Jesus. There is no sin in a church-covenant honestly made. The sin is in breaking it. How full of leaves was the plausible fig-tree on the way to Bethany! How profuse of promises is many a young professor as he stands up laden with the foliage on which the dew-drops of hope are glistening! How much his pastor expects from him. He makes no reserve when he covenants to consecrate himself, all that he is, and all that he has, to the service of his Redeemer. For a time the glossy leaves of profession make a fair show. But when the novelty of the new position has worn off, and the times of reaction come, then the yoke begins to gall the conscience, and every religious duty becomes an irksome drudgery. The cross loses its charm; prayer loses its power; the Word of God ceases to attract; the very name of Jesus no longer possesses a charm; and church-membership has become a hateful mask, which its owner is ashamed to wear, and yet afraid to fling away. Before the world the fig-tree still bears leaves; but beneath them is utter barrenness.

(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.

WEB: He left them, and went out of the city to Bethany, and lodged there.

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