Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

 Mark 11:11  "And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
 12   And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
 13   And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
 14   And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it."

A bit later, they passed the fig tree again:

Mark 11:20   And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
 21   And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
This seems like a senseless act of voilence against an innocent fig tree, doesnt it. After all, it was not the fig tree's fault that it was not fig season yet! But Jesus had an important lesson to teach his disciples.  To find out what it was we need a bit more background info:

What is the symbolism of the fruit all about?

 Luke 3:3   And he (Yahyah ibn Zakariya) came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;
 4   As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
 5   Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth;
 6   And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
 7   Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
 8   Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
 9   And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Luke 6: 43  "For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
 44   For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes.
 45   A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh."

When we come to God as repentant sinners, He recreates us to bear fruit. If we start bearing fruit, everybody can see that we are indeed what we say we are: trees planted by God in his orchard.

 Luke 13:6   He (Jesus) spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
 7   Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
 8   And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
 9   And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.

 If we do not bear fruit, it is plain that the conversion was not real. Thorn bushes cannot bear figs, even if they may look superficailly like fig trees...

What enables a person to bear fruit?

Jesus is quite adamant that to bear fruit, we must "abide in him":
John15: 1   I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
 2   Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
 3   Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.
 4   Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.
 5   I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.
 6   If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
 7   If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.
 8   Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
 9   As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.
 10   If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
 11   These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
 12   This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
 13   Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

What are the fruit the Bible speaks of?

Galatians 5: 19   Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
 20   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
 21   Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
 22   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
 23   Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
 24   And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
 25   If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
 26   Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

So this is the message of the cursed figtree:

1)God wants us to bear fruit.
2)To be able to bear the right fruit, we need to be the right type of tree. A thorn bush can try as he might, he will not be able to bear figs. Likewise, a barren figtree may try as he might: without enough water, fertilizer and tending (things the tree has little controll over) it will not bear fruit. A shoot that does not remain anchored to the vine will not bear fruit, but wither away.
So: We need to be recreated to become the right kind of tree. We need to allow the gardener to water us and tend to us, we need to stay connected to the source of nourishment, the vine.
3)A fig tree does not need to struggle or try hard to produce figs, it just happens naturally. It is the natural consequince of what it is. So if I do not bear fruit, it must be because I am not what I say I am... The gardener will not be misled, He will dig me up and burn me...
4)Jesus was not concerned  about the season when he looked for fruit on the fig tree: In the same way it is not sufficient to bear fruit only when conditions are favourable. We must bear fruit even in the harshness of winter...

Are you the kind of tree that bears the right kind of fruit naturally?

If not, ask God now to change you. You will be surprised!

The alternative is to be dug up and burned.

Back to the Curse...