Matthew 21:17-20. :And He left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and He lodged there. 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 thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!”
As always, there is far more to this incident than meets the eye. The first thing that occurs to me is that Jesus, Son of God, Son of man, God incarnate, had a very human need. He was hungry. Such a seemingly small thing, but it reminds us again of Who He was, and what He came to do. He was God. He was man. He was the only One Who could perform the act of salvation for mankind because He was sinless, divine, and human. No other faith offers a Savior. Only Jesus.
The fig tree, in scripture, is a type or picture of the nation of Israel. As a nation, Israel had rejected Jesus as Messiah. When Jesus inspected the tree, looking for fruit, He found nothing but leaves. There was nothing to satisfy His hunger, to feed and sustain Him. The cursing of the fig tree stands for the national rejection of the people. Israel yielded no fruit; therefore, the barren tree was cut off and cast into the fire, while the root remained (Luke 13).
The disciples were amazed at how quickly the curse Jesus spoke came to fruition. He used their amazement to teach a lesson on faith and prayer, which we will look at tomorrow.