Let’s follow Jesus from the morning of one day to the morning of the next. On the first morning, after sleeping by the roadside out in Bethany, he and his disciples were making their way towards Jerusalem; when, saying he was hungry, Jesus stepped aside to pluck fruit from a fig tree.
On seeing no fruit on it, Jesus cursed the tree, saying may no fruit ever grow upon it. We know right off, that Jesus would not have cursed any tree that was his Father’s handiwork. We know rather, that he was using the fruitless tree to symbolize one of us humans who accomplishes nothing.
With his moving on to the temple, Jesus used that morning to express God’s discontent with people changing God’s house of prayer into a market place. It’s very colorful to picture Jesus weaving cords into a whip, then swinging it over his head, driving mooing cows and bah-bahing sheep out the gates.
In teaching the Sixth Grade I always came to this story in May when the dozing students could think of nothing but lazy summer. At my front of the classroom I had a folding table carrying all by books, papers and notebooks. When I came to Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers, I would grasp the edge of my folding table, flinging it high, sending books, pencils, and notebooks flying out over the students. I wonder if those moneychangers had been amazed as our students were.
Passing out of the city to spend another night resting a Bethany, Jesus and his disciples passed by the fig tree Jesus had cursed the day before. They saw it all withered away. It all puzzled the disciples. They wondered if Jesus had not known that it was not the season for the figs to ripen. But, of course he knew. He wanted them to see that he had made the tree stand for any of his followers; and for them, and us, there cannot be a season when we don’t produce. We are always bound to bear fruit.