Cursing the Fig Tree

And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there. Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Matthew 21:17-19 KJV

Jesus saw this fig tree that had leaves but no figs, and He cursed it so that it would never bear fruit again. That sounds rather cruel, but He was making a point. The fig tree was a picture of Israel. They hadn't borne fruit. There were signs of activity, leaves growing on the tree, but no fruit.

On a fig tree, the best figs show up even before the leaves grow. If the leaves are there, and there are no figs, the tree is not producing. Jesus was demonstrating that Israel wasn't producing. They had leaves but no fruit, religion but no relationship. As a result, they had rejected their Messiah and would miss out on the kingdom for a long time.

- Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa
- The Word for Today Bible - Copyright © 2005