The Fig Tree

Why Did Jesus Curse It?


Some time ago a lady asked me, "Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?" I believe many people have thought about this fig tree and wondered the same thing. Well, let's go to God's Word and see if we can find an answer to that question.

Jesus and His twelve deciples had left Jerusalem and had gone to Bethany and, let's start at Mark 11:12, which says,

12And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it." (Mark 11:12-14)

And the next verse says they went on to Jerusalem. So let's jump to verse 19 which says, when even was come, He went out of the city. Now we will start our Scripture reading at verse 20 of the same chapter. 20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away." (Mark 11:20-21)

According to Dake's Annotated Reference Bible, Fig trees were of two varieties: the early fig and the late fig. Figs appear before or with the leaves, so the leaves indicated that the tree must have figs, even though the time of figs to be fully ripe was not yet come.

The fig tree was prematurely in leaf, perhaps from growing in a sheltered place, so it was logical to believe there would be fruit. One of the important things here is, the tree did not fulfill its promise. The Lord condemned the tree, not only because of its fruitlessness, but because of its fruitlessness in the midst of a display which promised fruit. Just like many that profess they are Christian and have an outward facade of Christianity, but upon close inspection we find a counterfeit believer, for there is no fruit.

I believe using this fig tree as an example is most important. As long as we are only professed Christians with no fruit, we are living a lie and cannot possibly have the kind of faith that will see us through difficult times, much less move mountains.

Jesus cursed the fig tree to use it as a teaching about faith. For He goes on to say in verses 22 through 24 that one should have faith in God. Let's read it.

22"And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."(Mark 11:22-24)

Of course we have no need to curse trees or move mountains but one could, indeed, do so if there was a need, and one had faith and did not doubt, because that is what God's Word says.





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