Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?


I reread some chapters of the New Testament and I do not understand the verses where Jesus cursed the fig tree. Please, explain why did Jesus do it?

Firstly, let’s see …

The text which describes this event

tells us the following:

And He left them and went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there. Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, “No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you.” And at once the fig tree withered. Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, “How did the fig tree wither all at once?” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Truly I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ it will happen. And all things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” (Matthew 21:17-22)(NASB)

According to this text, Jesus gave the disciples a lesson of faith. The New Testament presents us a second lesson that He had given His disciples before and that He reminded them again. So, let’s see …

What did Jesus tell the disciples about the fig tree before?

Once, when He was telling people about the importance of repentance He compared it with a fruit of a tree and He said the following words:

“I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” And He began telling this parable: “A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?’ And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.’” (Luke 13:5-9)(NASB)

When Jesus cursed the fig tree, He gave the disciples the opportunity to recall once more the previous example and to emphasize the importance of genuine repentance. Moreover, …

John the Baptist used the fruit tree image to convey the same truth

The Bible tells us that:

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. (Matthew 3:7-10)(NASB)

How we see, in this case the fruit tree is the image of the true repentance that bears righteous deeds.

God save us from the fate of those who refuse the true repentance and thus remain under the curse and punishment.

Translated by Felicia Rotaru