Jesus and the Fig Tree

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In Mark 11 and Matthew 21, there is an incident that has always puzzled me.

Just days before His crucifixion, Our Lord Jesus Christ was on His way into Jerusalem when he spied a fig tree in leaf, and felt hungry. But when he came up to the tree, He found it had no figs: not even the edible “pre-figs” that come out with the leaves. The tree was barren.

So He cursed the tree; and the next time they saw it, the disciples were amazed to find it dead and withered.

Why did He do it? There’s a lot of theology to explain it. But as I read those verses yesterday, it came to me that Jesus knew, by then, exactly what He was going to suffer in a very few days, and it must have weighed greatly on His mind. How could it not? And here’s this blamed fig tree refusing to yield up even a pinch of fruit.

So He cursed it, because it was not doing what a fig tree is supposed to do, it was not providing anything to eat, nor would it.

In Luke 13: 6-9, Jesus tells a parable of a barren fig tree planted in a vineyard. The owner wants it cut down because it’s a waste of space; but the vinedresser persuades him to let him fertilize it and give it another chance to bear fruit before cutting it down.

The difference between the two trees is that, for the tree at Jerusalem, time was up. Christ would not pass that way again. There was no more time to fertilize it, no more time to wait for it finally to bear fruit.

Which is, I think you will grant, very much something to think about.

6 comments on “Jesus and the Fig Tree

  1. Since the fig tree in the Bible is used as representation of the nation of Israel, His cursing of the tree was a picture of the fact that since Israel would not recognize and accept her Messiah, she was to be cursed in her blindness until “the time of the Gentiles is fulfilled” The Tanakh must be fulfilled in every detail. Romans 9, 10,11 further clarify this.

  2. Also, note that “it was not yet the season for figs” When it is the season for Israel to wake up, “all Israel will be saved”, but Israel was zealous for the Torah, but without faith. They were try to do it on their own.

  3. Once when I was witnessing to an unbeliever, he used this story as his basis for not believing in Jesus because he thought what Jesus did was stupid. Well, at least he knew some of the Bible – I prayed for him (he’s has since passed away).

  4. I think the fig tree in the story may represent the religious system of Jesus’ day (which still exists in the church), people having a form of godliness but denying its power – i.e. leaves as in “appearance of godliness” but no Holy Spirit fruit (II Timothy 3:5).

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