The Apple Of God's Eye

July 28, 2009

Why Did Jesus Curse The Fig Tree?

gbcdecatur.org

gbcdecatur.org

Why did Jesus curse a fig tree in Mark 11:12-14?

“At a distance, Jesus saw a fig tree WITH LEAVES, and, being hungry, He approached it hoping to find some fruit, for figs will quite often appear EARLIER than the leaves. Upon reaching the tree, all He found were leaves; the tree had produced no fruit. Mark, the author of the book, added the comment that “the time of figs was not yet” (verse 13). This statement is somewhat puzzling — until we understand the growing and fruiting cycles of fig trees.

Notice the following interesting information about the fig season in Palestine: “It has been asked, ‘How could our Lord expect to find ripe figs in the end of March?’ Answer, Because figs were ripe in Judea as early as the PASSOVER. Besides, the fig tree puts forth its fruit FIRST, and afterwards its leaves. Indeed, this tree, in the climate which is proper for it, has fruit on it all the year round, as often seen” (Clarke’s Commentary).

Fruit tree growers know that ordinarily a small amount of fruit ripens prior to the main crop. It is referred to as the first ripe fruit or the firstfruits. When Jesus approached the tree, it was the time of the firstfruits of figs, but it was not yet time for the main harvest. Mark 11:13 must mean that the particular tree on which Christ expected to find figs was barren, because it had no figs on it at all. It did not fulfill its purpose, and, as any diligent orchardist would do, Jesus simply eliminated an unproductive tree, not with an axe or a saw, but by faith.

Please compare Luke 13:6-9. Jesus used this incident to teach His disciples — and all Christians today — that the outward appearance does not count with God. Instead, what really counts is whether or not one produces godly fruit in his or her life (Luke 13:6-9; Gal. 5:22-23; John 15:8, 16).

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