Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
“Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-15 (NKJV)
When He realized the tree was all leaves and no fruit, was He so terribly disappointed that He vented His anger in emotional vindictiveness? Since we know Jesus is without sin… we must conclude His anger towards this fig tree was righteous.
But what of Mark’s comment, “It was NOT the season for figs.” Wasn’t Jesus then expecting too much from this tree? Was He really expecting it to bear fruit out of season?
Without all the facts, one could easily see Jesus in a negative light, or even as harsh. Should you ever find yourself viewing God with an uncomplimentary and critical attitude, pause and reflect. Consider who He is and who you are and whether you have any right to judge your Creator. Then, humble yourself and consider His character. God is love. He loves ALL of His creation. If not so, why would He care when the tiniest sparrow falls?
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29 (NIV)
Fig trees will often produce a small amount of fruit prior to the main crop. This “first fruit” was what our Lord was expecting. Since this fig tree was without ANY fruit, but fully dressed in leaves, He knew it was barren. The tree was not fulfilling its purpose. Thus, Jesus eliminated an unproductive tree from an orchard, not by saw or ax but by faith and His Word.
“And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord” Nehemiah 10:35 (NKJV)
Mark 11:12-15 is a wonderful analogy and a good reminder for all believers. We were made for a specific purpose, predestined by God to fulfill His will. We were knit together by a loving Father who gave us every gift, trait, and skill necessary to fulfill and carry out the plan and purpose He designed us to fulfill.
We should be productive instruments for the glory of God. During our many seasons of life, we will sow seeds, water and care for them, harvest a crop of righteousness (that is only because we are one with the Lord Jesus Christ) and praise God for the gift of service.
Have you any first fruit to offer the Lord today? Or, are you hiding behind a façade of greenery with little service or fruit to speak of? The fig tree was fully dressed in leaves of green but not productive. Be careful that you are walking the Christian walk and not just hiding behind some showy leaves. Our Master expects produce and will cut away dead branches and then prune the healthy ones to increase the harvest for His kingdom.
“As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.” 2 Chronicles 31:5 (NKJV)
“If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6 (NKJV)