On the way to Jerusalem the disciples witnessed a curious incident: Jesus cursed a fig tree (Mark 11:14). On the surface, this seems to be out of character for Jesus.
- Wouldn’t the Son of God know that there would be no fruit?
- What good is there in cursing an inanimate fig tree?
This is indeed a strange story – taken by itself. But there’s more to this story, and we’ll explore its conclusion in two weeks – see the 11/18/2009 conclusion.
For now, we need to examine this passage on its own merits. There are many approaches we can take here:
- It demonstrates that, like the fig tree, we are known by the fruit (or lack of fruit) that we produce. Are we living lives “in leaf”, promising to produce luscious fruit, but in reality providing none?
- Jesus, by cursing the fig tree, is showing what happens to us when we live a fruitless life. Are we under a curse by our failure to bear fruit?
- Jesus is demonstrating the power of faith on the world. Can the Christian today possibly achieve such a faith?
There’s another interesting possibility: In nature, all creation does the most it possibly can every day. Nature does not take a day off; nature does not decide, “I’ll take the sunshine on my branches and the water to my roots, but I don’t think I feel like growing today.” Yet humanity, with our reasoning minds and all the tools and resources available to us today, are often too lazy to share our fruit – the gift of God – with others.
Food for thought as we ponder this story. Look for the conclusion in two weeks.