Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
When, on the Monday before Passover, Jesus saw that a fig tree on the Mount of Olives had leaves but not early figs he cursed it (Matt. 21:18–19; Mark 11:12–14, 20–21). The tree’s appearance from a distance gave the promise of fruit, but its actual potential for fruitfulness was lacking.
The fig tree is well suited to the kind of dry-farming horticulture used in the rocky soils of the eastern Mediterranean. The tree played such an important role in the regional economy that it was included in the list of species defining the “good land” into which God brought Israel (Deut. 8:7–8). Its large leaves provide welcome shade during the heat of summer (cf. John 1:48), and its fruit offers an exceptionally sweet taste to an otherwise relatively bland local diet.
Like all orchard crops in the region, the fig tree is barren in the winter, puts out leaves in the spring, and produces a mature crop in late summer. What is unique about the fig tree, however, is that it produces two sets of figs each growing season. Early figs appear in early spring not long after the first leaves. They are small, hard, and not easily eaten. If a fig tree fails to bear early figs, either it is infertile or it will be unproductive later in the season, when the sweet, later figs normally appear.
As we journey to to cross today, let us pray that the Holy Spirit uses this time to produce in us good fruit in the kingdom of God.
Read: Matthew 21:18–22
Let us Pray.
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Preface of Holy Week
*The above devotion is from ESV online.