Jesus Curses The Fig Tree
If you plant an apple tree in your yard, you expect it to bear apples…. not oranges, but apples. James 3:13 poses the question, “Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs?” No it doesn’t. If you plant or see an apple tree, you expect to see some apples! Jesus says in Luke 6:44. "A tree is identified by its fruit. Figs are never gathered from thornbushes, and grapes are not picked from bramble bushes."
Now on the contrary, what if you see an apple in the distance, but when you get close up there are no apples? Now let’s substitute people for trees. What do you do if a person appears to be good from a distance, but when you get close to them you find out they aren’t bearing good fruit? What do you do? Well let’s hear what Jesus has to say.
This is what Jesus says in Matthew 15-19:
"Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."
Simple answer. Jesus says in Matthew 7:20, “Just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” So if a person in your life isn’t producing good fruit cut them off.
A good example we can learn from is when Jesus curses the fig tree in Mark 11. Let’s look at the beginning of the story in Mark 11:12-14:
“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”
Let’s discuss the key points. Now on double take, one might ask why Jesus cursed the tree if it wasn’t the season for figs anyways. If wasn’t the season for fig trees, what difference did it make that tree didn’t bear fruit.
Well, first off the tree had leaves. And if you do your research on fig trees you will learn that if a fig tree has leaves it is always accompanied with fruit. To see a fig tree covered with leaves but no fruit means it is barren.
So in the distance upon seeing the leaves, it was plausible to assume the tree had fruit. Just like with people, they play the role of a good person, but once you get close to them you discover they are really not. They talk good, but their actions say a different story.
Second, we must understand unlike fruits , we as people must be bearing and producing fruit in and out of season. 2 Timothy 4:2 says “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season.” Basically, we should be producing good fruit every season.
So upon seeing the tree was barren, Jesus cursed the tree. Jesus saw the tree didn’t fulfill its purpose and was unproductive, so he cursed it at its roots and it withered away and died.
And that is the same thing he wants us to do with people in our lives, who are not productive. Everyone in our lives should have purpose to fulfill. But some people in our lives, like the fig tree in the distance, can fool us by their outward appearance. In the distance they appear to produce good fruit (deeds) in our lives, but in actuality they aren’t producing anything. They add no value to our lives. So like Jesus cut down the fig tree, we must cut useless people out our lives.
Jesus used this incident to teach his disciples and all us Christians today that a person’s outward appearance does not count with God. Instead, what really counts with God is whether or not one is producing godly fruit in his or her life. What’s the point of planting an apple tree, if won't produce apples?
Today I encourage you to evaluate the fig trees (people) in your life. Are they bearing fruit or do they just look the part from a distance? Like Jesus, if a tree has leaves but no fruit-curse it, cut it off. So indentify the trees in your life, keep the good ones and get rid of the bad and barrens ones. When Harvest time comes, you cannot collect fruit from a barren tree.
Today’s Scripture: “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:2