The parable of the fig tree

“Learn this parable from the fig tree: Whenever its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near” (Mark 13:28 NET).

When we approach Mark 13 we must be aware not only of the context of what he was teaching but also the context of that week. This parable from the fig tree is placed in context when we consider an incident that took place a few days earlier. Continue reading “The parable of the fig tree”

A worthless tree

“Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, ‘May you never bear fruit again!’ Immediately the tree withered” (Matthew 21:18-19 NIV).

This incident may seem a bit strange and quite harsh to us. It was early morning and Jesus was travelling back to Jerusalem with his disciples. He was hungry – after all, it was breakfast time. They saw a fig tree and went over to it, but there were no figs on it. So Jesus, basically, cursed the tree: “May you never bear fruit again!” Why did Jesus do this? Continue reading “A worthless tree”

Living behind a façade

Now the next day, as they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. After noticing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to see if he could find any fruit on it. When he came to it he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. (Mark 11:14 NET)

It was the last week of Jesus being with his disciples and living on the earth – later that week he would be crucified. During this last week Jesus and his disciples were staying in Bethany but traveled each day into Jerusalem. This particular morning as they left they saw a fig tree in the distance with leaves – and they were hungry (normal Jewish breakfast time was in the late morning, so they had not yet had time to eat anything). They approached the tree but there was no figs to be found – after all, it wasn’t even the right season. But Jesus “cursed” this tree: “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”

Have you ever wondered why Jesus reacted this way to this particular tree? After all, it wasn’t even the right season to find figs there. Was it just because he was hungry and found nothing to eat? Or was there more to it? Continue reading “Living behind a façade”