“12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.” – Mark 11: 12 – 14
It’s interesting that Jesus cursed this fig tree, but why? Is it to show his power of nature? Certainly that was very clear to his disciples by this point. It had a deeper, and more symbolic meaning I think. The fig tree presented Judaism. Jesus had spent 3 years teaching and while some of them listened to him and took his teachings into their heart, most did not. They rejected him. Cursing the fig tree was Jesus’s way of saying that the nation had become fruitless, and therefore useless. It’s no surprise that he did this right before he went into the Temple.
“15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” – Mark 11: 15-18
Here is a prime example of the “fruitless fig tree.” The money lenders turned the Temple into a place where they profited off of the pilgrims who traveled to the Temple to worship. This angered the Lord to the point that Matthew recalled that Jesus overturned the tables of the money changers and of the seats who sold doves (Matthew 21:12-17).
How are these people like the fig tree? It may seem pretty clear, but they were not “bearing any fruit”. All they were doing was trying to profit for themselves by taking advantage of those that came to the Temple.
In verse 18 of Mark, we read that after Jesus cleansed the Temple, the scribes and priests discussed how they “might destroy him.” Here are these people who suddenly got thrown out of the Temple and told what they were doing was wrong. They did not like this man coming in and disturbing what they were doing there. Do we not see this today? The world is definitely turning further and further away from his Doctrine. We see it today as more and more sin becomes common placed and accepted, while the Lord’s doctrine gets put into the fire and even considered to be wrong in the eyes of the world. Sometimes the doctrine of men can sound convincing and not bad, but it isn’t as clear as white and black, but instead as white and off-white. That’s why it is important to study the Scriptures, and pray about what you read and hear to find out for yourself if what you are learning is true, or else we may become like the fig tree that Jesus cursed and become fruitless.