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Easter – Day 2
After Christ’s ride into Jerusalem we know that on the night of the first day “He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.” (Matt. 21:17) So on the second day we see Christ walking from Bethany back to Jerusalem. The scripture reads:
“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.”
“And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing theron, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” (Matt. 21:18-19)
The way a fig tree brings forth fruit is actually very wonderful. The fruit-buds of a fig tree appear long before the foliage of the tree. Once the leaves of the tree are there, you can easily assume that the tree has figs. So it makes complete sense that Christ would seek for food among a tree with leaves. As we read in Mark 11:12-14, this tree would never produce fruit, but because it had leaves, it was mimicking those that produced fruit, which made the tree look like something it wasn’t. Christ despised hypocrites. It was better to kill the tree than to let it live and keep deceiving those that were hungry.
Why, we ask, was this miracle so important? And why, when he usually healed, would he take the life of a fig tree? The apostles knew very well that He had the capacity to heal that tree and bring forth fruit if He wanted to. Why not save the tree?
The significance of this miracle is that He didn’t save the tree. He was teaching the apostles that He had the power to take life as well as give it. He had healed and brought people back from the dead, but He needed the apostles to know that He had the power to take life, even lay down His own, for the cause of something better.
And so he cursed the tree.