A question came to me the other night concerning why Jesus cursed the fig tree post-triumphal entry in Mark 11.
Like several other instances in the Bible, the account of Jesus scolding the fig tree appears rather random, maybe not ‘Prayer of Jabez’ random, but haphazard nonetheless…at least at first glance.
A frontcheck reveals Jesus was on his way to cleaning out the ‘temple rats.’
A backcheck shows Jesus had just entered Jerusalem on a ‘virgin colt’ (had never been ridden before) on route to the temple for what would be his final week of life/mission on earth.
Now while this may seem harsh, after digging a little, I’m finding Jesus’ purpose for His ‘outburst’ was nothing short of brilliant.
Jesus was and is the Master of symbolism. He most likely cursed the tree, not so much for not baring fruit as compared to not recognizing His identity. Jesus was with God when the tree was made, correct? So regardless if the right conditions were in place for that tree to bear fruit, the fact is the tree should have had something to provide the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as He made His way to clearing the temple.
Think about it. God made the tree for His glory, in likeness to everything else created by His hand. Nature gives glory to God, so we can deduce that the tree was created to give pleasure to God. Sorry, for the ‘duh’ moment, but ‘bear’ with me (pun intended)…
In the case of the fruit-bearing tree, its mission was to...what? That’s right! BEAR FRUIT!!!
Now I know what you’re hummin’ to yourself: The Bible says in v. 13 that “it was not the season for figs.”
But that’s besides the point.
The fact is Jesus needed strength and fulfillment at that particular moment in time, not from just any tree, but from 'that' tree. The Bible bluntly states: Jesus was hungry. Not mildly famished, but ravenous!
Quickly flashing back again to Creation, we find Jesus involved in the very making of the tree. So it's safe to say that no matter what the circumstances were for that tree, no matter what had happened to the tree in the past, the fact is it did not serve or please Jesus when the opportunity presented itself. It did not acknowledge Him. It did not register nor connect with Him. And perhaps most critically, it did not provide Him with what it was created for (i.e. it forsook its original design).
Now it’s interesting to note the correlation between the adamant tree and the people of Israel - particularly the ones who cried out “Hosanna” during the triumphal entry. So many people failed to recognize and identify the true nature of the Messiah when He was right under their nose. Tragically, most were more concerned with their own sense of liberty and freedom from tyranny, that they completely missed a golden opportunity to know the full reason why Christ had arrived!
So on a symbolic level, we can see the cursed fig tree and the people of Israel in the same light in the sense both failed to recognize/acknowledge the identity of Jesus as Savior and Son of God - the very reason Christ came to earth.
But this is only part one.
V. 25 - "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
So what began as a curse eventually metamorphosed into a blessing. Pretty cool, eh?