On a day later, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing well away a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He’d find anything on it; and when He stumbled on it, He found only leaves, because of it wasn’t the season for figs. He explained to it, “May no-one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening… As these were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Being reminded, Peter thought to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.” And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God. “Truly I say for you, whoever says to the mountain,’Be taken on and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will soon be granted him.”
First i’d like to remind us that people should never question Jesus in the wrong spirit. Whatever He does is perfect and good and proper. But frequently His actions sung mỹ, sung ngọt raise eyebrows and grab our attention, which will be precisely what He wants!
The secular, carnal man will look at this text and see an impatient person who had been hungry, and got ticked off once the fruit he was expecting to get and eat, wasn’t there. Cursing followed, as men is going to do when they’re upset.
People of God filled with God’s Spirit and knowing even a little of God’s ways can in no way attribute such characteristics to the Son of God. Human means sinful to us. But originally, Adam was created perfect. This is the second Adam, still walking in perfect humanity and subjected Divinity.
Humanly speaking, He did get hungry. He saw a fig tree. He really did expect a small meal to emerge, but it did not.
The Heavenly part kicks in here. The Father, with whom He was in constant contact, delivered to the Son’s attention a golden chance for teaching from this incident.
You will see no anger in this passage. None. No out of control man governed by his belly. That’s a Western thing, not really a Godly one. He was disappointed, but immediately thinking stumbled on Him to say something concerning this happening that would teach an important lesson – 2 lessons actually – to the disciples.
The very first of the two lessons Jesus also taught in a parable in Luke 13:
“And He began telling this parable: “A person had a fig tree which have been planted in his vineyard; and he came searching for fruit on it and didn’t find any. And he explained to the vineyard-keeper,’Behold, for three years I have come searching for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even burn up the floor?’ “And he answered and thought to him,’Let it alone, sir, for in 2010 too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next season, fine; but if not, cut it down.’ ”
The allusion is clear. Here and elsewhere the “fig tree” is Israel, God’s special planting in Canaan land which was such a disappointment. Oh how God wanted fruit from that tree! So much effort and love seemingly visited waste. I say seemingly, though we know that God cannot waste any effort. Something good arises from Israel, for sure! The Scriptures, the example of the fathers, the prophets, Jesus Himself, the first church, and eventually “all Israel” will soon be saved. (That’s another subject.)
And dare we also mention a tree that does not bear fruit can be just like a Christian who does not do exactly the same? I think it is fair to say that people are included in the parable and in the “incident.” Disappoint Him long enough, and the curse is swift and sure.
But as you will see in Peter’s response and then Jesus’a day later, there is a two-fold lesson to be learned here. Lesson 2 had to do with the power of God and our use of it by faith. Though nothing “happened” when the words were uttered – as in our seemingly unanswered prayers – a day later the outcome were clear. And whenever we wait long enough and believe long enough, what we say to God and to even men could have results.
No, this is no idle anger from the hungry man. This is God the Master Teacher taking advantage of a teachable moment to instill wisdom in His followers then and now.
I suppose that is a third lesson: no matter how disappointing or difficult the circumstance in which we find ourselves, God can change it into an integral part of our education, if we’ll listen real hard…