Eyewitness: p. 193
In Your Bible: Psalm 8:2; Matthew 21:14-22; Mark 11:12-14,19-26
Admittedly, this story is difficult to comprehend. On his way from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus saw a fig tree in leaf. Noteworthy: it was April, not the fruit bearing season of June and August.* It seemed it should have figs due to the leaf bearing–but it didn’t. That’s akin to the religious leaders’ open display of religion with no love for God. A hypocritical tree – hypocritical Jewish leaders!
A Healing and Praise
When Jesus healed a blind and lame man at the Temple. The Chief Priests and teachers of the Law were furious over it. Their anger grew as they heard the children saying, “Hail to the Son of David!” (Eyewitness Matthew 21:15). Even the children praised Jesus.
A Curse For the Fig Tree
Jesus wanted food because he was hungry, but the fig tree in leaf had no figs. Then Jesus taught his disciples a deeper meaning for his action – cursing the tree. Some Bible scholars say the cursing the fig tree was an allegory concerning hypocritical religious leaders and Israel at rejecting the One God sent. Jesus was indeed angry at the fig tree professing to have fruit, having leaves only – hypocrisy.* Jesus’ curse on that tree was from the roots upward!
Application: Again, Jesus openly displayed anger at hypocrisy using the fig tree as an example. It had leaves, appearing to bear fruit but had none. The hypocrisy of the Jewish leaders was part of their lack of faith in Jesus. The lack of faith the Jewish leadership had in Jesus, disappointed Jesus to his inner being. Today, believers must bear fruit according to their faith.
Prayer: Father, what a challenging passage of a curse on the fig tree. Now I get it. I want to bear fruit. Wholehearted dedication and love for You God is how I will continue.
Question: Why do we stumble over this passage about Jesus cursing the fig tree? Why does it seem out of place? Do we understand hypocritical faith around us today? What can we do to help others here?
* Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1960, p. 1310.