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Why did Jesus curse the fig tree for not yielding its fruit, when it was out of season?
Mark 11:12-14 says, “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And 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. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.”
Jesus did this as an illustration to His disciples. Jesus came to the fig tree, but it was not ready for Him, “the time of figs was not yet,” so He cursed the tree. That was a picture of Israel.
Jesus is the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16), but the religious leaders were not ready for Him when He came. John 19:13-15 says, “When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”
Notice the “context” of the passage about the fig tree (the verses before and after the fig tree incident). Some people acknowledged that Jesus is King. Mark 11:7-10 says, “And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.”
But notice the difference when Jesus arrives at Jerusalem. Mark 11:11 says, “And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.” There was no grand reception there in the Temple for Him.
Notice the same scene as God uses Luke to describe it. Luke 19:35-40 says, “And they brought him to Jesus: and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
Do you see how the leaders were not ready for Jesus? Thinking about the fig tree, and it not being ready for a harvest when Jesus came to it, so it received a curse—now notice the next verses. Luke 19:41-47 says, “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought; Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but ye have made it a den of thieves. And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him.”
See the picture? Israel was like the fig tree. When Jesus came to Jerusalem, they were not ready for Him to rule and reign. From the outward appearance, these religious leaders looked like they were alive, spiritually speaking. Like the fig tree, they had “leaves” (if a tree did not have leaves in the summer, then from the outward appearance you would know that it was dead). Mark 11:12-14 says, “And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And 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...”
The Jewish leaders “looked religious,” but that is all that they had, “looks,” because they had no real fruit inside. Matthew 23:5-7 says, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.” Jesus said in Matthew 23:13, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."
Are you truly ready for Jesus' coming?
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