The Cursed Fig Tree
Wisdom's Corner
The Cursed Fig Tree

In Matthew 21:17-20 we read about Jesus cursing a fig tree on the Mount of Olives. He was coming from Bethany and going into Jerusalem. We know that the village of Bethphage was very close to Bethany. Bethphage means "house of figs." It is very likely that the fig tree in our verses was near Bethphage.

Jesus was hungry and saw a fig tree with leaves on it. This was not the season for figs to be ripe. In fact, this was not even the season for the fig tree to have leaves. When Jesus found that the tree did not have any fruit he told the tree that it would never again give fruit. It quickly withered away.

Jesus was giving a lesson by cursing the tree. He was telling us that it is wrong to put on a false face. We should not give the impression that we are doing something when we really are not. The tree gave the impression that it was giving fruit. It really was not.

But an even more important message was in what Jesus did. The Jewish Sanhedrin had a special meeting house in Bethphage. The Sanhedrin were in charge of judging many things of a secular and of a holy nature. They set the limits on legal measurements. In fact, the Sanhedrin would have probably been the ones who made the final judgment regarding the crucifixion of Christ.

Jesus was making a point that the Sanhedrin had a face of being fruitful but that they really had no fruit. And it would not be long before they would be made to wither away like the fig tree. There would be a new place to get fruit. The Old Law was going to be nailed to the cross with Jesus and would no longer give life to the Jews. Jesus would institute the New Law beginning on the Day of Pentecost just a couple of months later. He makes this very point in verse 43 when he states, "Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth fruits thereof."

I am glad that we have the Bible to tell us about all of these things. I am glad that God gave us the New Law. Through it we have the opportunity to live forever with God in Heaven. But we must obey Him. And only by studying can we learn what we must do.

Keep reading your Bible. Do not be like the Sanhedrin and others who refused to follow Jesus. Learn what to do and then obey it. And if any of this is hard to understand, ask an adult to help you.

Mark McWhorter

Copyright 2002

Published by The Old Paths Bible School