“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender, and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see these things happening, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away” (Mark 13:28-31). Jesus often taught that trees which do not bear good fruit will be cut down (Matthew 7:19; Luke 13:6-9).
In this acted parable, the fully leafed fig tree represented the Jewish nation, while the other trees, represented the Gentile nations. It is a fact that the Gentiles didn’t bear godly fruits, but none was expected of them because they didn’t confess to bear fruits. However, this fig tree had leaves that promised the deliverance of figs. But this promise was without good deeds.
Jesus taught that the sin of hypocrisy is a very serious sin (Matt. 6:2; 23:13). Like the fruitless fig tree, the Jewish people bore no fruit. Their religion was full of external traditions but didn’t have goodness and holiness of heart (Mark 7:2-9). The fruitlessness of the tree represented the ungodly deeds of Israel.
For this reason, the following day Jesus pronounced a curse on the tree and judged the nation of Israel saying—“your house is left unto you desolate” (Matt. 23:38). It was also on the day following that Jesus rebuked openly the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocritical lives (Matt. 23:13–36).
Jesus gave this parable to show the need for bringing good fruits for “faith without works is dead also” ( James 2:26). He desired to prepare the disciples for His crucifixion that would come shorty, during which the Jewish leaders would confirm their rejection of Jesus and crucify Him. This act will seal their destiny as a nation (not individuals). From that point on, the disciples would take the message of the gospel to the Gentiles who were yearning to know the truth with gladness (Acts 13:42,-48, Isaiah 49:6, Acts 15:7-11).
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In His service,
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