Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fig Trees

On Monday, when we read the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree (Mark 11:12-25) Ben's response was, "that's weird!". His reaction was much like mine has been in the past. I've heard the explanation of the symbolism before: the fig tree is a representation of Israel and Jesus is condemning the nation for not bearing fruit. I get it, but still, the story has always seemed odd to me - cursing a fig tree when it wasn't even the season for it to bear fruit. Ben was right, it IS weird.
So, we did a little research, and if I understand correctly, the fig tree actually CAN have fruit out of season. The trees will grow green figs that are so bitter that only the hungriest travelers would eat them. Those figs fall to the ground to rot and then the tree produces the good fruit. If a tree doesn't have those first green, bitter figs that is a sign that it will not produce good fruit in season.
Perhaps Jesus was preparing his followers to understand the next event recorded in Mark 11 when he clears the temple area by driving out the money changers. Maybe he was giving them a visual lesson on the lack of fruit in the lives of those he would soon be driving out of the temple?
I have to admit that I did a poor job on trying to explain the story to Benjamin. Finally tonight I came up with what I SHOULD have told him. Maybe Jesus cursed the fig tree out of season to show us that He wants to see the signs that we will be bearing fruit for Him and that He wants us to bear fruit in ALL seasons, not just when it's easy and convenient!
I can't deny feeling relieved that Jesus didn't curse a tree for something it couldn't do! :-)

1 comment:

Becky Dietz said...

Good insight! I like the way you think!