THE BARREN FIG IS CURSED
(Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11: 12-14; 20 – 24)
∗ We plant apple trees to get apples, orange trees to get oranges, and fig trees to get figs.
∗ We might ask the question what good is an apple tree, if it doesn’t yield fruit.
∗ You might either cut it down or curse it as Jesus did.
HOW DOES JESUS KNOW THAT THE FIG TREE IS BARREN?
∗ The leaves and the fruit of the fig tree typically appear at the same time.
∗ But, when the tree is covered with leaves and no fruits, it’s barren.
THE THREE INSIGHTS OF THE TREE
1. In the Old Testament, the fig tree stood as a symbol for the nation of Israel.
“I found Israel Like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers As the first fruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, And separated themselves to that shame; They became an abomination like the thing they loved. (Hosea (9:10)
He has laid waste My vine, And ruined My fig tree; He has stripped it bare and thrown it away; Its branches are made white.(Joel 1:7)
2. The fig tree was cursed during, the passion week and there were only four days before the crucifixion of Jesus.
∗ The barren fig tree often symbolises the divine judgement on Israel because of the nation’s spiritual fruitlessness even though, Jesus was with them teaching the divine purposes of God through his parables and was working on wonder working miracles with the help of God’s divine power in front of their own eyes.
∗ Yet they didn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God.
∗ Lets not think that the cursing of the barren tree was an impact of the frustration on the part of Jesus, due to the forth coming divine purpose of God. (His crucifixion and death)
3. This story is placed just after Jesus was cleaning the temple.
∗ In Matthew 21:13 and Luke 19 : 46, it is given as a statements respectively.
“And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’.”
saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house is a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
∗ Whereas in Mark 11 : 17, it is given as a question.
“Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves’.”
Mark might have given as a question to emphasis strongly the ignorance of the religious leaders.
1. Israel was spiritually barren.
2. The Israelites had religion but not the reality.
3. They know about righteousness, but their hearts were too far from God.
THE SHAMEFUL FRUITLESSNESS
∗ The shameful fruitlessness of the Israelites exemplified God’s judgement against earthly Israel.
∗ One of Jesus’ parables taught a similar lesson.
THE PARABLE OF THE BARREN FIG TREE (Luke 13: 6 – 9)
6 He also spoke this parable: “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none.
7 Then he said to the keeper of his vineyard, ‘Look, for three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree and find none. Cut it down; why does it use up the ground?’
8 But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilise it. 9 And if it bears fruit, well. But if not, after that[a] you can cut it down.’”
FAITH IS FRUITFULNESS
∗ Only God-given faith is so doubt free. It’s God’s will.
∗ If we pray in faith not only the fig tree withers, but also the mountains can be moved and cast into the sea. It will be done because it is God’s will.
∗ So Jesus was speaking figuratively about the immeasurable power of God, unleashed in the lives of those with true faith.
SHORT SIGHTED PHARISEES
A miracle on such a cosmic scale was precisely expected from Jesus by the Scribes, religious leaders and Pharisees, but Jesus always declined because faith should be the trademark of the religious leaders and the harshness of His condemnation showed that the they were unfaithful to the Divine power.
THE POWERFUL LESSON
The barren fig tree is a lesson on faith. It’s also a lesson on absence of faith.
Jesus finds no fruit on the fig tree and it is cursed. Immediately it withers away.
BELIEVING AND RECEIVING
When the disciples were astounded to look at the withered tree, Jesus said, “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Lord, take away the spiritual barrenness in us; make us to believe and receive, whatever we ask in prayer, according to your will and let’s always stand by Your side to reach Your Kingdom Amen.
Glory be to God