Cursing the Fig Tree…
Jesus shows us the future of Israel:
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it. -Mark 11:13-14, NAB
In Scripture, the fig tree is often used as an analogy for Israel, just as Jesus does in today’s verse. In this case, Jesus was upset that the fig tree had not produced fruit, and this represented His anger toward Israel for not producing fruit either. For that reason, He cursed the fig tree from ever producing fruit again.
Jesus had just entered Jerusalem in His Triumphal Entry. Why, then, after being welcomed in such a way, would He curse the people who had welcomed Him? Because, in a few short days, He knew that He had a date with the cross.
Israel’s lack of spiritual commitment, and the fruit that would come from it, would eventually lead it to destruction. The temple had become corrupt (as we are about to find out in an upcoming verse), and a large part of the Jewish nation rejected Christ, God’s only Son. By their actions and choices, the Jewish people sealed their own destiny.
What can we learn from this story? Of course, there is the historical, theological aspect of understanding Israel’s past, but it can also shed light on our lives. If we want to avoid a fate like Israel’s, we must live a life that produces great spiritual fruit.
A fruitful spiritual life comes from obeying God’s commandments and placing our lives in His hands (the opposite of what Israel was doing). Following God’s commandments is like watering our own little fig trees. Putting our hope, faith, and trust in God is the sun that it needs to grow.
Are you living a fruitful life? Do not let yourself drift away from God, as Israel did, just to face the consequences of your own choices. Instead, embrace your faith and learn to live a life in relationship with God. I promise, the fruit that will come from your life will be well worth the effort.