“Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” (Reference: Matthew 21:19 )
This passage has puzzled me, and other commentators that I have read. Not in the meaning so much, but the context and explanation of what was happening. One commentator I read (names obscured to protect the “innocent” and because I really do not remember) said that it was the season for figs and so Jesus rightly expected to find them. The absence of figs is then connected to the state of the Jewish nation at the time, and the lack of sincere faith that Jesus found. Albert Barnes says there is no evidence that Jesus meant it to be an analogy of the Jewish nation/state. But what puzzles me is why Jesus would “curse” (Barnes explains this was not a state of anger but of a condemning to cease.)
The historic Anabaptists (at least Walter of Stoelwijk did in a letter he wrote in 1541) shared this understanding. “. . . for every tree which does not bring forth good fruit, shall be hewn down, and cast into the fire. There must be fruits; leaves alone will not avail. Matt. 21:19. Christ is our example; He practiced and taught. He taught His disciples to suffer and endure, for He Himself suffered and endured . . . “ Walter of Stoelwijk wrote.
I have to wonder, where does that leave us beloved? I do not know about you, but I don’t always produce fruit (of the Spirit). I have my fallow times, as I am sure most Christians do. But wait, the commentators said that Jesus KNEW this should be the time of year that fig trees produced fruit. Maybe I am not condemned to wither and die after all! And if we pair this with the theme right now, maybe we can say that words are leaves, and actions are the fruit!
May you beloved have seasons of fruitfulness and bounty for our Lord, and times of rest and rejuvenation so that you might continue to grow and bloom! Selah!