Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?
My children recently grew enthusiastic about limes after learning that they could sell limeade and make a lot of money doing so. At my mother-in-house, law’s they discovered a huge tray piled high with them one day. They discovered a large, lushly green, magnificent lime tree, which they immediately began robbing. Jackpot. Except that they were made of plastic. A basin full of limes, holding up the promise of gallons of limeade, is only ornamental and serves no use. Many items can pass for the actual thing on the surface, but upon closer scrutiny, they are shown to be false.
21:18–22; Mark 11:12–14, 20–25) is a stunning scene in the Gospels in which Jesus deals with this mismatch of expectations.
Examining the Episode
The throngs of people assembled for Passover greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem with joy. As he drives out from Bethany in the morning, he comes upon a fig tree that is “in leaf.” The majority of fig trees have not yet produced full fruit at this stage in late April (Mark 11:13). However, this particular tree captures Jesus’ attention since it has a full covering of leaves at the time of his arrival. It’s a flower that blooms early. Its foliage indicates that tree will produce figs in the early summer.
- He is dissatisfied almost quickly.
- There is no satisfaction when there is just expectancy.
- We are taken aback; this appears to be completely out of character for Jesus, who is known for being a child-welcomer, a loving healer, and a storm-calming figure.
- On the surface, it appears to be a case study on the effectiveness of devout prayer (Matt.
- However, there is more going on behind the scenes.
1. Fruitlessness leads to judgment.
Over and over again in the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as God’s vineyard, tree, or planting (Judges 9:8–15; Isa. 3:14–7; Jer. 12:10; Ezek. 17:2–10; Ezek. 19:10–14). Because they are God’s special planting, they must bear spiritual fruit as his covenant people (Ps. 1:3; Jer. 17:8–10), as any agrarian Israelite was well aware (Ex. 23:19; Neh. 10:35–37). This helps conceptualize their relationship with God, as they are his covenant people and as his firstfruits of the harvest (Ex. 23:19; Neh.
- For Israel’s connection with God is not founded on their fruitfulness (whether physical or otherwise), but it is God who bestows fruitfulness on them (Deut.
- The absence of fruitfulness is a symbol of God’s punishment on them as a result of their transgression (Deut.
- This underlying image for Israel’s spiritual health comes to life in the prophetic era with a dazzling display of color.
- 7:1, Jer.
- 9:10–17), but he finds “no first-ripe fig that my soul wants” (Mic.
- 8:13, Hos.
The result is that God pours forth the curse of barrenness (Hosea 9:16) on Israel twice over the course of a thousand years (the Assyrian and the Babylonian exiles) (Jer.
However, everything is not lost.
In the imaginations of Jesus’ disciples, when he reenacted Israel’s history by cursing the fig tree, light lights would have immediately gone out.
3:8–10; 7:16–20; 13:8; Luke 3:7–9).
And the Jewish people, who have gathered to commemorate God’s work of redemption (Passover/exodus), have just proclaimed Jesus as “king” as he leads a new exodus on a donkey filled with symbolic significance (Zech.
The time has come for the eschatological restoration.
Israel’s fruit will now be gathered, and blessings will now gush forth from the land.
While the rest of the nations—the other fig trees—have not yet reached their peak season, thisonetree has already begun to bloom. Furthermore, both Matthew and Mark, by “sandwiching” the fig tree incident, direct the reader’s attention to the location where it will all take place: Jerusalem.
- Matthew’s sequence is Jerusalem Fig tree Jerusalem
- Mark’s sequence is Fig tree Jerusalem Fig tree
The only problem is that there is no fruit. Once again, the fig tree has failed miserably. Every aspect of the Passover celebration, from the turmoil to the people to the singing, is a stage production. After entering the house of prayer, Jesus discovers that it has been turned into a “den of thieves” (Mark 11:17). There is a lot of activity and a lot of hustle, but there is no righteousness. There are leaves, but no fruit. Because of this, after inspecting the unproductive tree, Jesus administers divine judgment by two sign-acts: the future-pointing act of cursing the temple, as well as the performed metaphor of cursing the tree.
2. Think about your own figs.
However, everything is not lost. When the disciples urge Jesus to explain what has just occurred, he shifts his focus and begins to speak about prayer. Why? They will be the new custodians of God’s people, even if they do not completely comprehend what this means (Matt. 21:33–45). Their role will be to assist in the transformation of Israel—when the Jewish nucleus of Christ-followers spreads branches throughout the world and bears fruit from all countries (beginning in Acts). According to Jesus’ teachings, people will be able to do this via the power of persistent prayer.
- It is all about us.
- The cursing of the fig tree is not limited to ancient Israel alone.
- When that sad fig tree met its untimely demise on the route between Bethany and Jerusalem, the Old Testament expectation that God’s covenant people give fruit did not wither as a result of its unfortunate fate.
- 1:11–41, Heb.
- Not in order to gain God’s personal favor, but in order to succumb to the tasks that he has (re)made us to perform.
- The threat of the temptation toward false pretenses of fruit are also addressed in the storyline.
- And that only exacerbated the situation.
- It’s one thing to be lacking in something while seeming to be possessing it.
- Our personal life might take on the appearance of being “in leaf.” It is possible that our leaves resemble those of a supermom, a winner, a perfect family, or an A-team Christian with a jam-packed calendar of missionary events.
- It is possible that there will be no evidence of holiness or relationship with God.
- And our churches have the ability to do the same.
The leaves of a church may seem spectacular: rising attendance, capital campaigns, intelligent pastors, and excellent music, to name a few examples. But what will the Lord discover when he conducts a thorough investigation? Will he come across onlyleaves? Or will he discover figs as well?
Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
QuestionAnswer The story of Jesus cursing the barren fig tree is told in two separate gospel accounts: Mark’s version and Luke’s account. It can first be observed in Matthew 21:18-22, and subsequently in Mark 11:12-14, among other places. When it comes to the two stories, there are some minor inconsistencies that may be resolved by carefully reading the relevant portions. The key to comprehending this verse, like with all Scripture, is to grasp the historical and cultural context in which it occurred.
- For example, when did this occur, what was the environment, and where did it take place are all important questions.
- Finally, we must have a fundamental grasp of the fig tree itself, including its growth seasons and other characteristics.
- In the midst of Jewish people’s acclaim and worship, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem a day earlier.
- Now, the next day, Jesus is once again on His journey to Jerusalem from Bethany, where He had been resting the night before.
While expecting to find something to eat under the fig tree, Jesus instead discovered that the tree was devoid of fruit, and he cursed the tree, saying, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” (Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:14; Luke 21:19.) This narrative of the cursing and withering of the fig tree is included in Matthew’s account of Jesus purifying the Temple of the moneychangers, which follows the account of Jesus cleansing the Temple of the moneychangers.
Mark says that event really took place over two days, with Jesus cursing the fig tree on the first day while on his way to cleanse the Temple, and the disciples noticing the tree withered on the second day while on their way back to Jerusalem from Bethany, as recorded in Mark (Mark 11:12-14 and Mark 11:19-20).
- After reviewing the story’s overall chronological context, we may begin to address some of the numerous concerns that are frequently posed about it in this section.
- This question may be answered by looking at the properties of fig trees, which can be found on the internet.
- Consequently, when Jesus and His followers noticed from a distance that the tree was bearing leaves, they would have assumed that the tree was also bearing fruit, despite the fact that it was later in the season than it was customarily the case for an unripe fig tree to develop fruit.
- Early crops would be harvested in the spring, with one or two later crops following after that.
- The fact that Jesus and His followers would be seeking for fruit on the fig tree even though it was not the major growing season further helps to explain their actions.
- If you’re wondering what this paragraph is all about or even what it means, the answer may be found in the chronological context of the passage as well as in a knowledge of how a fig tree is frequently used figuratively to symbolize Israel in the Bible.
- Both were significant in terms of the spiritual state of Israel.
- Symbolically, He was decrying Israel as a country, and in a way, He was decrying unproductive “Christians” as well (that is, people who profess to be Christian but have no evidence of a relationship with Christ).
- In the same way, the lack or death of a fig tree would represent rejection and judgment.
- When Jesus cleansed the Temple and cursed the fig tree, causing it to wither and die, He was announcing the impending judgment on Israel and proving His ability to carry it out.
- James would subsequently write that “faith without actions is dead,” which echoed this reality (James 2:26).
God condemns those who do not yield fruit, and He wants those who are in a relationship with Him to “bear abundant fruit” in their lives (John 15:5-8). Questions regarding Jesus Christ (return to top of page) What was it about the fig tree that caused Jesus to condemn it?
Subscribe to the
Get our Question of the Week emailed to your inbox every weekday morning! Got Questions Ministries is a trademark of Got Questions Ministries, Inc., registered in the state of California in the year 2002. All intellectual property rights are retained. Policy Regarding Personal Information The information on this page was last updated on January 4, 2022.
Cursing the fig tree – Wikipedia
The curse of the fig tree is a story told in the gospels, and it is presented as a miracle in conjunction with Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem in Mark and Matthew, and as a parable in Luke. This event is completely absent from the Gospel of John’s account, which moves the episode with which it is associated, namely the purification of the temple, from the conclusion of Jesus’ public ministry to the beginning. The picture is derived from the Old Testament sign of the fig tree, which represents Israel, and the curse of the fig tree in Mark and Matthew, as well as the corresponding account in Luke, are therefore symbolically intended against the Jews, who have refused to recognize Jesus as ruler of their nation.
The symbol of the fig tree in Hebrew scripture
The curse of the fig tree shown in a Byzantine icon. As figs on a fig tree (Hosea 9:10, Jeremiah 24), or as a fig tree that bears no fruit (Jeremiah 8:13), the people of Israel are sometimes depicted in the Jewish scriptures, and in Micah 4:4 the age of themessia is pictured as one in which each man would sit under his fig tree without fear, the cursing of the fig tree in Mark and Matthew and the parallel story in Luke When viewed in isolation, Jesus’ destruction of the fig tree does not appear to be consistent with his other actions (Bertrand Russell used the story to challenge Jesus’ supremacy), but when taken together, the miracle stories form a “prophetic act of judgement” directed against property rather than people.
Gospel of Mark, 11:12–25
Historically, most historians think that Mark was the earliest gospel, and that the writers of Matthew and Luke utilized it as a basis for their writings. Jesus and his disciples are on their way to Jerusalem when a barren fig tree bears no fruit; in Jerusalem, he drives the money-changers from the temple; and the next morning, they discover that the fig tree has withered and died, implying that the temple, like the fig tree, is cursed and will wither because it failed to produce fruit. The episode concludes with a discourse on the power of prayer, which has led some scholars to interpret this as the episode’s primary motif rather than the eschatological aspect.
Gospel of Matthew, 21:18–22
Using Mark’s split tale, Matthew condenses it into a single narrative. When the curse is spoken, the fig tree withers, propelling the story ahead to Jesus’ confrontation with the Jewish priests and his curse against them as well as the temple. While Jesus responds to the disciples’ expressions of wonder with a brief discourse on faith and prayer, it is less clear that the dead fig tree is connected to the fate of the temple.
However, in Matthew 24:32–35, the author closely follows Mark in presenting the “lesson” (in Greek, parabole) of the budding tree as a sign of the certain coming of the Son of Man.
Gospel of Luke, 13:6–9
Luke substitutes the parable of the barren fig tree for the miracle, which is most likely derived from the same body of tradition as that which underlies Mark’s account. After hearing reports of Galilean deaths, Jesus and the disciples travel to Jerusalem, where he provides a prophetic interpretation of the events through a parable: A man planted a fig tree expecting it to bear fruit, but despite his visits, the tree remained barren; the owner’s patience wore thin, but the gardener pleaded for a little more time; the owner agrees, but the question of whether the tree would bear fruit, i.e.
acts that manifest the Kingdom of God Jesus concludes his parable with a warning that if his people do not repent, they would die, according to Luke.
Infancy Gospel of Thomas
The Infancy Gospel of Thomas contains a totally different account, but it contains a similar line from Jesus: “.behold, now also thou shalt be withered like a tree, and shalt not bear leaves, neither root, nor fruit.” (III:2).
- Figurines in the Bible
- The life of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament
- The parable of the blooming fig tree and the parable of the barren fig tree are both included.
- Getty-Sullivan 2007, p. 74-75
- AbEdwards 2002, p. 338
- AbBurkett 2002, p. 170-171
- AbDumbrell 2001, p. 175
- AbJesus Behaving Badly: The Puzzling Paradoxes of the Man from Galilee, Mark L. Strauss, p. 64
- AbDumbrell 2001, p. 202
- Burkett, Delbert Royce, and others (2002). This course provides an overview of the New Testament as well as the historical roots of Christianity. Carroll, John T. (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521007207)
- Cambridge University Press, ISBN 9780521007207
- Carroll, John T. (2012). A Commentary on the Book of Luke. Cousland, J.R.C., Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 9780664221065
- Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 9780664221065
- (2017). The Infancy Gospel of Thomas has a passage titled “Holy Terror.” Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 9780567668189
- Dumbrell, W.J. Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 9780567668189
- (2001). On the Lookout for Order: Biblical Eschatology in the Spotlight Wipf and Stock, ISBN 9781579107963
- Edwards, James R. Wipf and Stock, ISBN 9781579107963
- Edwards, James R. (2002). The Gospel of Mark is a collection of writings by the apostle Mark. Getty-Sullivan, Mary Ann (Eerdmans, ISBN 9780851117782)
- Eerdmans, ISBN 9780851117782
- Getty-Sullivan, Mary Ann (2007). Parables of the Kingdom: Jesus and the Use of Parables in the Synoptic Tradition is a book on Jesus and his use of parables. Keener, Craig
- Liturgical Press, ISBN 9780814629932
- (1999). A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 5:17–20). Eerdmans Publishing Company, ISBN 9780802838216
- Kinman, Brent (1995). The setting of Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem, both in terms of Lukan theology and in terms of the politics of his day. Perkins, Pheme (ISBN9004103309)
- Brill, ISBN9004103309
- Perkins, Pheme (ISBN9004103309)
- (2009). The Synoptic Gospels are introduced in this section. The Eerdmans Publishing Company, ISBN 9780802865533
- Mitchell G. Reddish, Eerdmans Publishing Company, ISBN 9780802865533
- (2011). This is an introduction to the Gospels. Published by Abingdon Press (ISBN 9781426750083)
Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?
Jesus was hungry early in the morning as he returned to the city, and he was on his way back. He approached a fig tree by the side of the road and discovered nothing but leaves on its branches. Then he cursed it, saying, “May you never produce fruit again!” The tree perished very immediately (Matthew 21:18-19). Fig trees are grown for the purpose of producing figs. It’s actually not that complicated. The reason we plant apple trees is because we desire apples; we plant peach trees for the same reason; we put orange trees for the same reason; and we plant fig trees for the same reason.
It’s probably best if you just trim it down.
What gave Jesus the knowledge that the fig tree was barren?
When you observe a fig tree with lots of foliage but no fruit, it means that the tree is fruitless.
Symbolism and Context of the Cursed Fig Tree
Three observations will aid us in comprehending this story:
- First and foremost, the fig tree was frequently shown as a symbol of the country of Israel in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 8:13
- Hosea 9:10). Second, we must keep in mind that the curse of the fig tree takes place on the Monday of Jesus’ Passion Week, four days before his crucifixion
- This is important to remember. This event is put next to the story of Jesus purifying the temple in Jerusalem, which is the third point of comparison (Matthew 21:12-17). A den of thieves had been established in the Lord’s home by the money lenders. Profiteers, they traded foreign currencies and sold the animals that devotees from faraway towns would purchase to offer up in sacrifice before the Lord. They could charge extravagant charges and make a mint off the pilgrims who came to pray if they used clever marketing techniques. Our Lord was enraged by the entire event because he understood that the temple was to be a home of prayer for people from all over the world.
The Meaning of the Parable of the Fig Tree
Cursing the fig tree was Jesus’ manner of expressing his displeasure at the state of the nation’s spiritual condition before the Lord. They have the appearance of religion, but not the substance of it. They had the appropriate words to speak, but their hearts were distant from God, as was their situation.
Another Bible Passage About the Parable of the Fig Tree
When two separate stories of the same story are compared and contrasted, readers have the benefit of multiple points of view and information. Before we come to Jesus cleansing the temple courts, we read the parable of the fig tree in Mark’s narrative (Mark 11: 12-14). While Matthew’s narrative is correct, the chronological chronology of the events is incorrect. “Jesus was hungry the next day as they were leaving Bethany.” He proceeded to investigate a fig tree in the distance, which he recognized as being in leaf.
He discovered that it did not have any fruit. When he arrived, he discovered nothing but leaves, as it was the wrong time of year for figs. After that, he cursed the tree, saying, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” “It was spoken by him, and his followers heard it.” (See Mark 11:12-14.)
Cultural Importance of Fig Trees
For example, according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, the fig tree was quite widespread in the area both throughout Biblical times and even now. And it was common knowledge in Jesus’ day that if you saw leaves on a fig tree, you might anticipate fruit to come from it unless the tree was barren, as was the case in this case. Sitting beneath one’s own fig tree was a popular expression in the Bible (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10), and it was a symbol of peace and prosperity throughout the ages.
courtesy of Thinkstock/Valentyn Volkov
Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?
In Biblical times and even now, according to Smith’s Bible Dictionary, the fig tree was a frequent sight in the region. And it was common knowledge in Jesus’ day that if you saw leaves on a fig tree, you might expect fruit to come from it unless the tree was barren, which was not the case in Jesus’ day. Sitting beneath one’s own fig tree was a popular expression in the Bible (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10), and it represented peace and wealth. Keep Believing Ministries’ article “How Did the Fig Tree Wither So Quickly?” is reprinted with permission (used by permission).
The fig tree and the temple
Jesus was starving the next day as they were leaving Bethany, according to the Bible. He proceeded to investigate a fig tree in the distance, which he recognized as being in leaf. He discovered that it did not have any fruit. When he arrived, he discovered nothing but leaves, as it was the wrong time of year for figs. After that, he cursed the tree, saying, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” Mark 11:12–14 indicates that his disciples overheard him say that. Mark informs us that although it was not the season for figs, the tree’s leaves gave the impression that the tree will bear fruit in the future.
This question is addressed by Mark by incorporating the temple tale into the fig-tree story: When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he entered the temple courtyards and immediately began ejecting individuals who were buying and selling goods there.
And as he was instructing them, he added, “Isn’t it stated, “My home will be considered a place of prayer for all nations?” However, you have turned it into a nest of robbers.'” When the leading priests and teachers of the law heard this, they immediately began seeking for a means to assassinate him because they feared him because the whole audience had been astonished by his teaching.
As soon as the subject of temple purification is brought up, our minds immediately jump to the phrase “den of thieves.” On the surface, it appears that Jesus was enraged because people were being abused financially by those who sold doves and exchanged money in the marketplace.
In less than an hour after Jesus left the premises, they would be back in business and selling again.
He is well aware that not only will temple practices not be reformed, but that the temple itself will be demolished as well.
“Do you see all of these things?” he inquired of her. “Truly, I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down” (Matthew 24:1–2), referring to the destruction of the Temple.
A den of robbers
Jeremiah 7 is quoted by Jesus during the cleansing of the temple. Throughout this text, Jeremiah calls into question the Israelite’s conception of the temple. Israelis had come to believe that the sacrificial system of the temple was sufficient to atone for all of their wrongdoing: “What makes you think you’ll be safe if you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, sacrifice to Baal and worship other gods you’ve never heard of, and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, ‘We are safe’—safe to do all these abominable things?
- To what extent has this mansion, which carries my name, become a robber’s lair in your eyes?
- On the contrary, he is claiming that it is the location where the thieves go to avoid facing the repercussions of their criminal actions.
- Israel was using the entire sacrificial system to absolve itself of responsibility for behaviors that it had no intention of changing.
- After calling Abraham, the Lord promised him that he would become a large nation, and that he would be blessed.
It is said in Genesis 12:2–3 that “I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you, I will curse,” and that “all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” But rather than transforming the temple into a “house of prayer for all nations,” they had turned it into a haven where they might hide from God’s wrath and avoid his punishment for their sin.
The fig-tree tale is intended to help us appreciate the significance of the temple purification, and Mark wants us to do so.
He says: As they continued their journey in the morning, they saw that the fig tree had withered from the roots.
The fig tree you cursed has wilted and died as a result “(See also Mark 11:20–21)!
Israel: God’s fig tree
This isn’t the first time that fig trees have been utilized as emblems of Israel in the Scriptures. In reality, it was frequently done in an attempt to convey a serious message. As in the days of Gibeah, they have been deeply entangled in corruption. Because of their depravity, God will punish them for their sins in the hereafter. When I discovered Israel, it was like discovering grapes in the desert; when I discovered your forefathers, it was like discovering the first figs on a fig tree in bloom.
God’s words to Hosea are strikingly similar to the events around the fig tree.
And the prophet Jeremiah, whom Jesus cites as He cleanses the temple, has this to say about God’s impending judgment: “I will take away their harvest,” proclaims the Lord, referring to the harvest of Israel.
On the tree, there will be no figs, and their leaves will begin to wither.
That which I have provided for them will be taken away from them ” (Jeremiah 8:13). It was as if Jeremiah’s words were being acted out on a real fig tree, and the country of Israel was being transformed into the kingdom of God, with His Spirit being poured out on everyone who came to Him.
It’s all about bearing fruit
Over and over again over the course of His mission, Jesus emphasized the value of being productive. And in order to accomplish so, He would utilize the example of fruitfulness to make his argument. The New Testament makes use of this image both collectively and individually. Following the purification of the temple, the Pharisees raise questions about Jesus’ authority. When they ask Him for an explanation, He answers by teaching them the Parable of the Tenants. According to this parable, Israel is portrayed by a vineyard whose tenants (representing Israel’s religious establishment) are negligent in their upkeep.
Jesus’ parable is summarized in the following words: “Therefore, I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and handed to a people who will bear its fruit” (Matthew 21:43).
God anticipates that the trees He planted will bear fruit.
The parable of the unfruitful fig tree
Jesus strengthens his point even further with a story about a guy and (believe it or not) his fig tree, which goes as follows: A parable was then given by him, which ran as follows: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and when he went to look for fruit on it, he found none. So he told the man who looked after the vineyard, ‘I’ve been coming here for three years now, looking for fruit on this fig tree, but I haven’t found any.’ Cut it down to size! ‘What is the point of using up the soil?'” Mr.
- If it yields fruit the next year, that’s great!
- The landowner is a guy of great patience.
- It has depleted the nutrition available and diverted the attention of the caregiver.
- What’s the point of wasting dirt on a tree that will never yield fruit?
- He will pay particular care to the tree and provide it with one more opportunity to bear fruit in the future.
- The entire narrative emphasizes the fact that God expects a particular level of fruitfulness from his people.
- He will, at some point, pass judgment, and that is exactly what will happen in the case of Israel.
Minding our fruitfulness
The prospect of fruitfulness is not exclusive to Israel alone, though. Furthermore, Jesus wants His disciples to yield fruit as well. One of His final conversations with the disciples before the crucifixion provides the following explanation: My Father is the genuine vine, and I am the true vine’s gardener. His pruning technique involves cutting off every branch in me that does not give fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit is pruned in order for it to bear even more fruit in the future.
- Continue to be in me, just as I continue to be in you.
- If you do not abide in me, you will not be able to bear fruit (John 15:1–4).
- As long as we remain linked to Jesus (the vine), we are given the ability to be productive—a state that we cannot create on our own.
- The mere fact that God invests so much time and attention into boosting our production serves to emphasize the significance of fruitfulness even further.
- In the absence of your remaining in me, you are like a branch that has been cast aside and withered; such branches are taken up and put into the fire, where they are burnt.
- As a result of your bearing great fruit and demonstrating yourselves to be my followers (John 15:5–8), you will bring honor to my Father.
Afterwards, He reiterates the lesson learned from the fig tree: branches that are unable to yield fruit are pruned away. In the end, fruitfulness is critical since it is the only way we can demonstrate that we are true followers of the Master.
The emphasis Jesus chooses
As we’ve seen, the disciples see that the tree Jesus cursed has withered. Instead of explaining why or elaborating on the object lesson, He tells them:”Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:22–26).
And by doing this, they’ll remain connected to the vine and empowered to bear much fruit.
If you’d like to learn more about fruit in a Christian’s life, readthis article.
Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?
Towards the beginning of Mark 11, Jesus walks to a fig tree to take a bite of fruit. The fig tree, on the other hand, has not produced any fruit, prompting him to curse it. Then, once he has finished cleaning up the temple, Peter notices that the cursed fig tree has shriveled and died. But why did Jesus curse the fig tree in the first place? The Revised Expositor’s Bible Commentary, edited by Walter W. Wessel and Mark L. Strauss, included an analysis of this text. They have some valuable insights to give, and we’ve included an extract from one of them below.
It is in this passage that we get the second portion of the tale of the fig tree (11:12–14), which is sandwiched between the description of the purification of the temple. (See Overview,11:15–19 for further information on the theological importance of this “intercalation.”)
SCRIPTURE: MARK 11:20-25
As they continued their journey in the morning, they saw that the fig tree had withered from the roots. “Rabbi, take a look!” Peter remembered and spoke to Jesus. “The fig tree you cursed has wilted,” says the witch. In response, Jesus said, “Have trust in God.” In all seriousness, I promise you that if somebody says to this mountain, ‘Go hurl yourself into the sea,’ and does not have any doubts in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. In order to ensure that you receive anything you ask for in prayer, I tell you to think that you have received it, and it will become yours.
COMMENTARY ON WHY JESUS CURSED THE FIG TREE
On their way back to Jerusalem from Bethany the following morning (probably on Tuesday of Passion Week), Jesus and his disciples passed the fig tree for the second time. It had been completely demolished (“withered from the roots”). Because of Jesus’ prediction that no one would ever eat fruit from the tree again (v.14), Peter directed Jesus’ attention to the withered tree, reminding him of what Jesus had said (v.21). Despite the fact that Jesus does not expressly interpret the incident, the implication appears to be clear: Jesus’ foretold judgment on the temple will come to pass just as assuredly as his forecast that the fig tree will wither.
The cursing of the fig tree is only mentioned by Matthew after the temple has been cleansed, and the tree withers “at once” once it has been cursed (Mt 21:19). Those discrepancies are consistent with his inclination to condense and shorten incidents (cf. Mt 8:5–13; 9:18–26).
This has been brought to our attention: the curse of the fig tree is closely tied to Jesus’ cleansing of the temple, with both serving as symbols of God’s punishment against Israel. Yet, strangely, Jesus does not make this relationship obvious in his teachings. The power of faith and prayer, on the other hand, is what Jesus is alluding to in this line and the subsequent teaching. The presence of this feature has led some commentators to conclude that the sayings ofvv.22–25have no historical connection with what has gone before and that Mark (or the tradition before him) has added them because Mark (or the tradition before him) misunderstood the symbolic significance of the fig tree’s destruction.
The event with the fig tree is used by Jesus to convey important lessons about faith and praying.
In order for us to believe, he must be our object of faith.
While this phrase may be unique, it is most likely not since (1) the somber “I tell you the truth” is never followed by a conditional clause, and (2) the introductory “if” is most likely derived through assimilation of the phrase inLuke 17.6.
As with Jesus’ earlier announcements, this one is preceded with the somber introduction line “I tell you the truth” as a manner of emphasizing the significance of what he is about to say. Because Jesus was standing on the Mount of Olives, from where a clear view of the Dead Sea may be obtained on a clear day, it is possible that he was referring to that particular peak. Without a doubt, the idea of tossing a mountain into the sea is a metaphor for something that is physically impossible to accomplish (Zec 4:7).
In Matthew 17:20, a comparable metaphor of the ability of faith to move mountains is depicted in the parable of the mustard seed (cf.Lk 17:6).
A direct relationship exists between the sort of faith that Jesus is speaking of here and the practice of prayer. As E. Stauffer (New Testament Theology, 169) points out, “the ‘faith’ of Mark 11:23f. is a faith that prays. Prayer is the source of its force, and the means of its strength — God’s omnipotence is its solitary certainty, and God’s sovereignty is its only constraint.” (New Testament Theology, 169) In other places, Jesus confirms the limitless capacity of prayer to bring about desired consequences (Mt 7:7;18:19;Lk 11:9).
To be sure, the change between verses 24 and 25 is jarring (withv.24speaking of faith,v.25of forgiveness). Nevertheless, there is a relationship. Prayer, in order to be successful, must be offered in confidence – faith in the all-powerful God, who is capable of doing miracles. However, it must be provided in the spirit of reconciliation. Efficient prayer requires two conditions: faith in the power of God and a willingness to forgive.
Possibly because of the rapid change in subject matter, or perhaps because Matthew had supplied a comparable statement in the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 6:14), which comes directly after the Lord’s Prayer, Matthew omits this line.
This passage does not appear in the New International Version (NIV) or most other modern translations since it is not found in the finest and most ancient manuscripts of the New Testament. It is an addition from Matthew 6:15 into the text.
EXPOSITOR’S BIBLE COMMENTARY – REVISED
An updated version of the Expositor’s Bible Commentary was issued by Zondervan in 2012. The work of 56 different authors – 30 of whom are new to the series – is included in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary – Revised Series. EBC-R is a collection of the greatest work by world-class researchers, including D. A. Carson, George Guthrie, John Walton, and Andreas Köstenberger, that is both scholarly and accessible. There are thirteen volumes in this series. Take a look inside the Expositor’s Bible Commentary or choose which version is most appropriate for you by clicking here.
Why Did Jesus Curse The Fig Tree – The Fascinating Answer
Please keep in mind that this content may contain affiliate links for your convenience. In my capacity as an Amazon Associate, I receive a commission on eligible purchases made by you at no additional cost to you. the bottom of this page, and my complete disclosure can be found on myAffiliate Disclosure Page. The narrative of Jesus cursing the fig tree in the Gospel of Mark is well-known to most people today. There are some wonderful lessons to be learned from the cursed fig tree that we can take away and apply to our own life.
- What was He thinking when He decreed that this tree would never bear fruit again merely because it did not have any figs?
- So let’s get to work on this Bible study on the fig tree and Jesus’ ministry!
- The miracles Jesus did during His career included treating the sick, driving out devils, calming storms, and reviving the dead, to name a few examples.
- The miracles of Jesus have the potential to transform your life, and it all starts with faith.
- An everyday miracle might sometimes be something that doesn’t get much notice but can be utilized to convey a lesson nonetheless.
- Is it true that a miracle has occurred?
- Yes, that was the case.
Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree? – A Bit Extreme?
Frequently in life, we look at something with high expectations, only to discover that it is not what we expected it to be. Because this issue is so frequent, I actually published an entire post about it. When we look at some things, they might appear to be deceitful. When I think about my first visit to my sister in Florida, I get a little nostalgic. I was up in New York City and didn’t spend much time in vehicles until I visited my grandmother when I was 12 years old. It was then that I was first exposed to heat mirages on the highways of southern California.
- When viewed from a distance, deception may take many shapes, and many things appear to be real when they are not.
- Mark 11:12-14 (KJV) He grew hungry the next day, after they had left Bethany and returned to their home.
- When He got close to it, he discovered nothing but leaves, as it was not the season for figs at that point.
- His followers were also paying attention.
- To be sure, it looks that Jesus curses the fig tree only because He was hungry and the fig tree had no fruit to provide Him, despite the fact that it was not even the season for figs at the time!
At first sight, it appears to be a bit excessive, especially considering that it wasn’t even the season for them at the time. However, this is only at first sight! Consider this in further detail and consider what lessons Jesus is attempting to impart to us through the cursed fig tree.
Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree? – Understanding Fig Trees in Israel
In Israel, figs are harvested in two to three crops every year, depending on the season. Every crop cycle follows the same pattern of development. The tree develops its fruit first, and then its leaves appear. As a result, if you observe a fig tree with its leaves, it is safe to presume that its figs have already matured. As a result, in verse 12, Jesus notices the fig tree from a distance and notices that it still has its leaves on it. He had every reason to suppose it was also in possession of the fruit at the time.
There were no figs in it!
There are no advertisements or pop-ups, and you will keep it for as long as you want to refer to it anytime you want.
3Lessons From the Cursed Fig Tree
So, let’s look at why Jesus cursed the fig tree and what we may learn from the fig tree in the following ways:
1. False Appearances
The fig tree was condemned by Jesus because it gave the impression of fruitfulness, but it was actually false. It was devoid of fruit. Jesus was enraged with this tree because it gave the impression of yielding figs when it didn’t! It was this tree that he condemned since it gave the impression of fruitfulness, but it was actually false. It was devoid of fruit. To send a tweet, simply click here. This was done to seem more advanced than the others and to appear to give something important from a distance, but all it offered was leaves, since the Bible makes plain that figs had not yet even begun to ripen.
In essence, this misleading look was a form of hypocrisy.
2. Biblical Hypocrisy!
There are several instances in the Bible when Jesus addresses the subject of hypocrisy. He’d seen it so many times, and this tree was a vivid representation of what he’d seen! Matthew 23:27-28 is one of these verses: Wrath on you, professors of the law and Pharisees, you hypocritical hypocrites! You are like to whitewashed tombs, which appear lovely on the surface but are filled with the bones of the dead and everything else that is dirty on the inside. In the same way, you may look to others to be upright on the exterior, yet on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and evil.
When it comes to hypocrisy in the Bible, Jesus brings it up on several occasions. As a result of his frequent witnessing of it, this tree served as a vivid representation of it! Matthew 23:27-28 is one of these verses. Woe betide you, professors of the law and Pharisees, ye hypocrites of the earth! You are like to whitewashed tombs, which appear lovely on the surface but are filled with the bones of the dead and everything else that is dirty on the inside. You are like that. In the same way, you may look to others to be upright on the exterior, but on the inside, you are full of hypocrisy and evilness.
3. Living a Fruitful Life
For us, this is a sobering lesson from the Lord Jesus Christ. Taking care not to give the world the impression that we have the fruit of the Spirit or that we are leading a fruitful life, but upon closer inspection, we are no different from the world. We might give the impression that we live a flourishing life, but when others look closer, they will see that we are nothing but leaves! Lovingkindness and gentleness are among the Fruits of the Spirit, along with patience and forbearance. The Fruits of the Spirit are also patience and forbearance (Galatians 5:22-23).
Or, conversely, do we live lives of hypocrisy while seeming to live a life of productive living?
If we give the world the impression that we have the fruit of the Spirit, but when we look more closely, we find that we are no different from the world, we must exercise caution. To send a tweet, simply click here.
Lessons From the Cursed Fig Tree – Examples ofFruitfulness in the Bible
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the true gardener,” says Jesus in John 15:1-11. His pruning technique involves cutting away every branch that is a part of me but does not yield fruit; and he prunes every branch that does give fruit in order for it to bear even more fruit. You are being trimmed right now as a result of the word that I have talked to you about. “Remain joined with me, as I will remain united with you — because just as a branch cannot grow fruit on its own without the support of the vine, so you cannot bear fruit away from me.” I am the vine, and you are the branches that support me.
- If a person does not remain joined with me, he is cast away like a branch and withers away in the desert.
- In yielding abundant fruit, you will demonstrate your status as mytalmidim, and in doing so, my Father will be praised in your lives.” As much as my Father has loved me, I have loved you as well; therefore, continue to be in my love.
- I’ve spoken this to you in order for my delight to be in you and for your joy to be complete as well.
- Keep your focus on Him!
What Does It Mean to Abide?
‘Abide’ is a Greek word that means “to remain.” It denotes (according to Strong’s Concordance): to remain (in a certain place, state, relationship, or expectation) for an extended period of time. —be present, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable, be presentable (Strong) The most important thing is to remain in Him and His Word. Our fruit will increase as we dwell in Him and His Word, as well as when we pray, since we will be drawing from the source!
We receive our spiritual food from Him in the same way that a tree receives nourishment from its base, and then, like the tree, we bear excellent fruit!
Pruning in the Bible
God also prunes us, just as a good gardener would. And when God prunes us, the old and dead things are eliminated to make way for the growth of the new and better. The dead items are eliminated in order for fruit to grow in greater abundance. In botanical terms, pruning is removing dead or overgrown branches or stems, usually in order to enhance fruitfulness and development in plants.
How Does God Prune Us?
God is the one who takes away our guilt and humiliation. He eliminates our old habits and old ways of doing things, and he heals our emotional scars as a result of this process. He takes the place of the old records that we repeat over and over in our heads, things that people said about us, with what HE has to say about ourselves. He does this by the power of His Word! In the process of studying His Word, Christ prunes us! We mature in Him and allow Him to remove those things that are no longer useful from our lives via His compassion and kindness!
And as long as we allow for this pruning and allow for a lot of fresh fruit to develop, we will never have to be worried with merely exhibiting leaves!
New International Version® (NIV®) – Scriptures extracted from the Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®).
Zondervan has granted permission for this use.
TM CJB – This phrase is taken from David H.
The year 1998 was the year of the copyright.
Used with permission from Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029.of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*.
The Tree of Life Bible Society owns the copyright for 2014 and 2016.
This ebook download of this essay contains all of the information you could ever want to know about Why Jesus Cursed the Fig Tree. There are no advertisements or pop-ups, and you will keep it for as long as you want to refer to it anytime you want. The best thing is that it costs only $2.