1. The passage is constructed with a device called “intercalation”: 15-19 is the primary focus and 12-14 and 20-21 are two sides of the sandwich (talk about vv. 22-25)
2. During the Passover season (mid April) in Palestine, fig trees produce edible buds followed by the appearance of large green leaves signifying the approach of summer
3. Absence of buds with only leaves is an indicator that there will not be any fruit for the “rest of the season.”
4. The reasons for buds falling off: hail storm, extreme snow in March, or other natural calamities
II. The Acted-out Parable
1. It was reasonable for Jesus to expect to find something edible on the fig tree at this season (11:13)
2. To view from far, the fig tree looked laden with fruit, but it was bankrupt of any fruit (11:13)
(a) False projection
(b) Externals did not match with reality—Fruitlessness of the fig tree disappoints Jesus
3. Lush green attractive tree symbolized Judah, particularly the Temple
(c) Preaching of the Word
(d) Big Herodian building
(e) Religious activities
4. The claim/look of the Temple was completely inconsistent with reality
(a) The leaders had transformed the Temple into a “den of robbers” (vv. 15-16)
(b) The Temple should have been the house of prayer for the nations (verse 17)
(c) Instead of being corrected, they looked to kill Jesus (vv. 18-19)
5. Jesus’ cursing of the tree was not an angry reaction at the barren tree (vv. 20-21)
(a) It was a dramatic symbolic action of what was going to happen to the Temple shortly (in about 30 years following this incident, the nation Israel along with the Temple was destroyed by the Romans)
(b) This incident presents Jesus as the Judge
III. How does the passage affect us today?
1. Are you guilty of false advertising/projection of yourself?
2. Are you covering up your spiritual bankruptcy with external spirituality?
3. What is causing your fruit to shed? Internal or external?
4. Jesus suggests that the disciple could become what Israel had become—i.e., a fruitless deceptive people
5. Just because you go to a specific church, denomination, or having a pastor/priest, you can be healed of your fruitlessness (you cannot manufacture fruit)
IV. Take Away
Abide in Jesus and walk after the Holy Spirit (John 15:1-6 & Galatians 5:13-22