Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
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Question: Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?
Answer: There are two New Testament accounts of Jesus cursing a fig tree. They can be found in Matthew 21 and Mark 11. The account Mark gives offers more detailed information about this curse. Let's begin by examining Mark 11:
"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 could find something on it. And 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 11:12-14, NKJV throughout)
The tree in question did have very large and spreading leaves, as if there might be fruit on it. To the casual reader it may seem strange at first to look for figs when it was not the season for figs. He was actually not expecting any figs, but something else. This is what the Encyclopedia Britannica states regarding figs:
" . . . The most primitive is the caprifig, commonly regarded as the wild type from which edible figs have evolved. Trees of the caprifig characteristically produce three series of fruit buds each growing season; the first gives rise to the profichi or spring crop, the second to the mammoni or summer crop and the third to the mamme or winter crop..."
Noting that, as verse 13 shows, our Savior did not expect to find figs, but He was looking to "find something". It was probably the mammoni type, conceivably still expected to be around in early fall. We need to bear in mind that figs were much of a food staple in the Middle East. Christ found nothing edible and therefore cursed it.
There are two profound lessons that we can learn from this incident. The first lesson can be found within verse 14 where the tree was told: "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." God makes an investment in every person He calls into His truth. He gives them the priceless gift of His Holy Spirit and thus He expects His followers to make good use of it and grow in spiritual character. Christians must produce spiritual fruits. The total failure to do so will result in the final punishment of being cast into the lake of fire (Matthew 25:14-30).