Why Did Jesus Curse The Fig tree? Tree Series Part 6 of 7

Mark 11:12-14 12″Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He {Jesus} was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree HAVING LEAVES, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for IT WAS NOT THE SEASON FOR FIGS. 14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.”

(Jesus cursed the fig tree.)
Mark 11:20-21
“Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

Holy Spirit Message.

For years, I wondered why Jesus cursed this poor tree that had no fruit when the passage clearly says it was not the season for fruits.  No doubt you, like me, have heard a message or two and some speculation about the meaning of this story.

So, why Jesus would do such a thing knowing IT WAS NOT THE SEASON FOR FIGS?  As always, The Holy Spirit has a message and an important lesson for us to learn.

Some Facts About Fig Trees.

Well, God says study to show ourselves approved so let’s go learn a little about fig trees.

You may have heard that the fig tree is a symbol of the curse but scripture does not bear that out.  In fact, figs, vines and pomegranates are the holy trio of fruits in the temple and in worship in the Old Testament. They are blessings.  The fig is actually a wonderful fruit and contains more seeds within each individual fruit than any other.  Thus, it’s a symbol of fruitfulness as well as an excellent source of nutrition.

But it was never the fruit that was a problem. It was the leaf and the tree.



First Mention.

The first time figs are mentioned is in the garden of Eden after Adam and Eve fell. Their eyes were opened, they knew they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together.  Guess you could say the fig leaf was the very first branded clothing line!  Contrary to popular opinion, it probably was a fig, not an apple, that they ate.   You’ll see why in a moment.

After eating from the forbidden tree, their eyes were opened and they knew they had sinned against God. Fig leaves were their attempt to cover their shame.
Notice what God Himself did:  Made them Coats of skin.  lThe word.  In Hebrew is. “Kettoneth.”  Contrary to artist’s depictions, this was a ong-sleeved, neck-to ankle covering.  For more on that topic, follow the link below:

The Importance Of The Blood.

Fig leaves are a picture of man trying to save himself by own efforts.  In other words, self-righteousness.  But the Bible clearly says, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins.”

That was Cain’s mistake.  He brought produce to God, not a blood sacrifice like his brother, Abel. He was saying, in effect, that he did not acknowledge he was a sinner; that the works of his hands, i.e. self-righteousness, would suffice; that he didn’t need a blood sacrifice.
Well, that wasn’t going to cut it.  That is why God rejected his offering and that’s why he and his brother fought.  Their disagreement was not over whether or not to worship God.  Cain demonstrated that he came for that purpose.  It was over how to approach God.
The Debate Still Raging.
It’s like that even today.  We still have people who think they can merit God’s grace by their self-righteous deeds rather than His way:  By grace through faith in the blood of Jesus.  And how do the self righteous set view those of grace in our day?   The same way:  JEALOUSY WITH MURDEROUS INTENT.  
Some actually do kill Christians, though most attack verbally.  They send poison letters or emails, tweets, posts on Facebook; word darts intended to demoralize, discredit, and destroy.  It’s as if they believe they’re guardians of ho-o-o-liness or something.
Now who does that sound like?  “Steal, kill and destroy.”  That’s the devil right there.
First Animal Sacrifice.
Back in the garden, God, demonstrated the importance of the blood. He obviously killed animals in order to make clothing for Adam and Eve, providing a blood covering for them. Yep, that’s right:  God offered the first blood sacrifice for sins.  Of course, His provision for us is always perfect, unlike our own.


So, that’s where it all started:  In the garden…..and man has been sowing fig leaves together for himself ever since.

Characteristics Of The Fig Tree.
Getting back to our story, why was Jesus looking for figs on this tree if it was not the season for them? Kinda makes you feel sorry for the tree.  Let’s learn more about the fig tree.
Unlike any other, fig trees have a very unusual characteristic. Before the leaves come out, it produces something called “The first ripe figs.”  Biblically speaking, this is a picture of the tithe. {Yes, tithing came long before the law}.  So, when it has leaves on its branches, one should expect to find fruit on it.  But not this tree.  For some strange reason, it had none.



The fig tree in the Bible is always a depiction of Natural Israel.  (See Matthew 24:32)  Jesus had come to His people looking for….NO:  Expecting…to find fruit, i.e. a testimony of God’s goodness, of His blessing, of the fruits that should be there as a result of the blessings from serving the true and living God.

What He found instead was empty religiosity, vain rituals, and outward appearances but no substance. You know, leaves but no fruit.  “See?!  I’ve got leaves!”  All they had produced was a whole bunch of righteousness by works, not of faith.  It was a bluff, if you will.  In a word, it was Hypocrisy.

By cursing the fig tree, He was not cursing the law but the hypocritical “system” of works without fruit that sprang out of the law.


Faith Or Law?

According to Galatians 3 “the law is not of faith.” You are either under law and your faith is suspended……or you are under Grace operating by faith.

You see, faith and performance are mutually exclusive; and, if you do not see performance as a cursed thing, you will be unable to flow in faith.

The unfortunate consequence of all this is that God cannot give you the “land,” i.e. His rest, which He has promised you, and all the blessings that can only be received by grace.


That’s what Paul meant when he said that the son of the slave woman, Hagar, cannot be heir with the son of the free woman, Sarah.  Ishmael cannot inherit along with the Isaac, the son of promise; for “if those of the law become heirs, the promise is made of no effect.” Romans 4:14.

Everything God has for us can only be received by faith in Jesus’ finished work. You cannot add to it with your striving, with your good works or your good family name.



Blessings come ONLY by grace: UNearned, UNmerited, UNdeserved favor….and that, Church,  is why Jesus cursed the fig tree.

Follow the link below to Part 7 where we’ll talk more about the trouble caused by the fig tree:


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