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The Significance of it – Mark.11:12-14

This is one of the most difficult scriptures for us to understand in the Bible. That a curse word would proceed from the mouth of the Lord is hard to understand, let alone pronouncing death to an innocent fig tree. The cursing of the tree that can only respond to the law of nature was hard to be understood by the saints of God. Why was this curse? Did the tree do something that was beyond us? Was the Lord of creation justified in bringing death to the fig tree? This and other hard questions are left for us to decipher in the 21st century.

It is believed that the Lord wanted to change the season of figs for this particular tree forever. So He placed a demand on it. He was placing a new demand on the tree by fast-forwarding its destiny. The principle is that God calls what He knows that we can produce by His grace, but the tree did not respond to God by accepting what He said about it. But its submission to the Lord of creation, the tree replied to Him did not reciprocate the faith that God placed on it of producing, even though it was not its season.

The above spiritual explanation seems to have gone too far and reading into the actions of Christ what He did not intend. The God of all the earth will judge rightly and He will not break His own laws of nature at this instance. Humanity and trees are under different zones. Man is in the kingdom of God, and he is made in His likeness and image, and the fig tree is not. So a tree cannot be compared to a man made in the image of God.

Rev. W M Christie, forwarded F. F. Bruce had a similar understanding that I have, and this is the fact that I believed in. That the fig tree was cursed for the following reasons:

Was it not unreasonable to curse the tree for being fruitless when, as Mark expressly says, “it was not the season for figs”? The problem is most satisfactorily cleared up in a discussion called “The Barren Fig Tree” published many years ago by W. M. Christie, a Church of Scotland minister in Palestine under the British mandatory regime.

He pointed out first the time of year at which the incident is said to have occurred (if, as is probable, Jesus was crucified on April 6th, A.D. 30, the incident occurred during the first days of April) “Now,” wrote Christie, “the facts connected with the fig tree are these.

Toward the end of March, the leaves begin to appear, and in about a week the foliage coating is complete. Coincident with [this], and sometimes even before, there appears quite a crop of small knobs, not the real figs, but a kind of early forerunner. They are grown to the size of green almonds, in which condition they are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. When they come to their own indefinite maturity they drop off.”

These precursors of the true fig are called “taqsh” in Palestinian Arabic. Their appearance is a harbinger of the fully formed appearance of the true fig some six weeks later. So, as Mark says, the time for figs had not yet come. But if the leaves appear without any “taqsh”, that is a sign that there will be no figs. Since Jesus found “nothing but leaves” – leaves without any “taqsh”- he knew that “it was an absolutely hopeless, fruitless fig tree” and said as much.

F. Bruce goes on to describe the cursing of the fig tree as a real-life parable that emphasized the spoken parable of the fig tree in Luke 13:6-9. It is also likely that Jesus, knowing in advance that his disciples would be surprised by the quick effect his curse had, used the fig tree to provoke their reaction and thus make the lesson about faith more memorable. What do you think? Can you come up with a better explanation? Let me know.