“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. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (Matthew 21 v 18-22)
First the fruit then the leaves, that is the order for the fig tree. So the fig tree has leaves so there must be fruit. Yet this isn’t the season for fruit but that doesn’t stop Jesus looking for it because he is hungry. When he looks at the tree he finds no figs so he curses the tree.
This isn’t only a lesson in lost potential it is more than that. This isn’t only a lesson in the wrongs of arrogance, it is again more than that.
It is the arrogance of displaying you have what you don’t have at a time when no one is expecting you to have it in the first place!
The fig tree is the generation of Israel expecting the Messiah.
It is the Temple of worship built to honour the glory of God, which Jesus has just entered and found it as a den of robbers and on that day would turn the Temple into disarray.
The fig tree had no fruit because it was not the season, all that was left on the tree were the leaves.
God has punished and exiled Israel because of its waywardness and rejection of Him throughout its history, in the time when it was not the season for the Messiah. If Jesus curses the fig tree out of season what does that indicate would happen to Israel if it is in season but is not fruitful? When the Messiah is here and it is the season and there is no fruit how much more will the curse be?
This is the season now. Jesus is here. He has been in the Temple which is heralding the One to come and He is here. Now is the time for salvation. So what now if there is no response? If there is no fruit?
Will Jesus bring a bigger curse to Israel?
We know what happens.
Jesus becomes the curse.