The Time of the Fig

In Mark 11:12-14,20, the story is told of Jesus seeing a fig tree with no fruit on it and cursing it. Presently, the fig tree withered away. I will explore into this story further to understand one of the deep teachings in this passage.

Laying the ground work, we must notice that Jesus takes this time after the withering of the fig tree to tell his disciples what power faith carries when one commands something to happen with one’s own words. Jesus said to his disciples, “Have the faith of God. For verily I say to you, that whoever shall say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea;’ and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe in those things which he says shall come to pass, he shall have whatever he says.” That is a powerful statement, because who has moved a mountain, before? Yet, Jesus said it can be done. That is one truth in this story, but it is not the one I want to delve into.

In this story, Jesus is hungry and comes to this fig tree expecting to find a fig he can eat. Jesus, however is disappointed to find no fig, and thus he curses the tree which immediately begins to die. Did the fig tree do something wrong? Did it deserve to be cursed? We are told by Mark that the time for figs was not yet. How can someone expect to find figs when it is too early in the season to have them? Why was Jesus expecting to find a fig when it was too early for there to be a fig? Could Jesus not know it was too early? We must explore all avenues we can think of to understand the teaching in this story.

Jesus was someone who would spend most of the night to pray and receive a word about what would happen the next day. When he walked everywhere he went in the day, he knew what was going to happen before it did the vast majority of the time. He knew who he would meet and what to do to help them. He was always on time for everything to maximize glory to God’s name. When he comes to the fig tree, however he is caught by surprise. He expected there to be figs and there were none. It seems as if God had tricked Jesus into expecting figs the next day, but what really happened?

The figs represent the ministry God has called someone into. “This is my ministry for you, and you must prepare for what I am giving you;” is what God says to us when He calls us. Jesus is saying to us that he expects us to walk into that ministry now rather than later. You are to be the first fruits, not the fruits that come later. Jesus expects to find us prepared, but in this case, we were not. Perhaps, we did not water the fig tree enough by feeding ourselves with God’s word and especially that word of promise He has given us for our ministry. We are to pray and fill ourselves with his word and promises to us. We have to believe what He says will come to pass. If we get distracted, then that word cannot reproduce and increase our ability to believe his word to us. This fig tree was anointed to bring up early fruit, but it failed to get the nourishment it needed to produce the fruit Jesus (God) was expecting to find. It thus got passed by, so to speak. Its opportunity was missed.

When God gives us a promise, we have to dwell on it and believe it. Jesus already said in this story about the fig tree that we can move mountains with our words. That is what we must do. We must speak God’s promise into existence without doubting at all. We must be filled with God’s word to us so completely that there is no doubt. When we do not doubt, we will have whatever we say. What greater reality is there than that? God’s word and our words combined make the impossible, possible.


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