Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Cursing of the Fig Tree

In the New Testament we find a story that often baffles people. It describes how one morning the Savior saw a fig tree and desired to eat of its fruit. But as He draws near to the tree He discovers that it has no fruit and so He curses the tree. This seems very uncharacteristic of the Savior unless one knows a little about fig trees.

Unlike the cherry trees in my yard which produce leaves then blossoms then fruit, the fig tree produces fruit and then leaves. This means that the tree the Savior saw should have had fruit on it. This was symbolic of the Pharisees and the Sadducees who dressed in the robes of the priesthood and claimed to have power, but they did not bear the fruits of the gospel. Thus the cursing of the tree was a condemnation of hypocrites and a demonstration of what will happen to them.

There are many other lessons to be learned from this story. It symbolizes what will happen to those who refuse to repent. It is an illustration of the power of faith. But the most stunning lesson for me is that Jesus had before demonstrated that He had power to restore life such as when he raised Lazarus from the dead. Now He shows that He also has power to take away life. In a few days He will hang upon a tree (the cross) but He will not be killed by the soldiers; He will voluntarily give up His life for you and me. Jesus Christ has power to give life and He has power to take life away—His own and ours.

Instead of demonstrating this power to take life away on a person, He demonstrated His power on a tree that was not doing what it was designed by nature to do—it was not bearing fruit to feed and sustain the sons and daughters of God.

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