Here is an event in the life of Jesus to consider for the weekend. What do you make of Jesus’ actions here?
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.
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Mark 11:12-14; 20-25
What in the world do we make of this scene?! Is Jesus really being so irrational as to expect fruit out of season? Shouldn’t he have known it wasn’t the season for figs?
This is one of those passages that feels like there is a lot going on beneath the surface, that there must be more than what meets the eye. But what is it? What is going on here? It sort of feels like this action flies in the face of the whole concept of grace.
Why would Jesus curse the fig tree? Has he lost his temper or is this a calculated move?
Don’t forget that in between when Jesus curses the fig tree and when the disciples see it as withered is the event of Jesus clearing the temple (Mark 11:15-19). Could this event be connected to the temple clearing?
It seems reasonable to assume that there is a deeper message here, that Jesus is trying to do more than just put an un-producing tree in its place. But what is he doing? What is the lesson?
What do you think? Consider the words, the actions, the message in this event. Share your questions, your thoughts, or your ideas.
Is there some deeper lesson? Or is Jesus just being unreasonable here?