Jesus and the Barren Fig Tree Miracle
Free online resources based on Jesus speaking to the barren fig tree, and his lesson on faith and bearing fruit. This miracle can be found in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. See below for links to sermons, stories and entertaining sites for this important story.
Early in the morning, as He was returning to the city, He was hungry. Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And He said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” At once the fig tree withered.. — Matthew 21:18-19 HCSB
Jesus and the Barren Fig Tree Miracle – Summary
Jesus entered Jerusalem with great fanfare and praise on Palm Sunday. But like before, it saddened him to see the Temple of God treated like a market. People were coming to worship God and sow their seed, but they were being ripped off by money changers and merchants. They were seeking healing and spiritual answers, but instead they received condemnation and religious burdens that even the religious leaders were unwilling to bear. They saw the beautiful Temple and religion, but it was all leaves and no fruit.
It is in this context that you need to approach the miracle story of Jesus and the fig tree. It is a great story of how faith works, and a revelation of what God wants from His children.
Jesus saw the fig tree in the distance. It was lush and full of leaves. Typically when leaves were present, figs would be as well. But when Jesus approached the tree, he could find no figs (fruit). Just like the Temple and the religious leaders appeared magnificent and Holy, but rejected love, mercy and healing that was being demonstrated by Jesus, and promised by God.
Jesus came to be a blessing to the world. And you are to be an imitator of Christ. (Ephesians 5:1-2) Christians, like Jesus, should be healing the sick, preaching the Good News, sharing God’s Blessing. People should not only see your leaves (appearance, or what you want people to see), but also be nourished by your fruit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22)
Jesus spoke to the tree, “Never again shall fruit grow on you!”
Matthew says the tree withered immediately. Mark indicates that it was overnight and withered from the roots up. It was bearing no fruit. Apart from Jesus (the vine), you can do nothing. And when you are cut off from the vine, you wither. (John 15:1-17) Note also the connection between this story and the Parable of the Barren Fig Tree, and Jesus weeping for Jerusalem. (Luke 13)
Peter (in Mark) calls it a curse. Jesus was giving his followers another preview of what was to happen to the nation he loved. Although many Jews would accept him as the Messiah and become Christians (followers of Jesus Christ), many others would not. Without the life of God, the nation would wither from the roots up. Israel would be destroyed by Rome and its people dispersed throughout the world. And as God promised, towards the end of the Church Age, they have come home, and continue to return. Ultimately, Israel will recognize Jesus as their Messiah and bear much good fruit. (see Zechariah 8 and Revelation 7) Also, note the brief statement by the writer in Mark 11:13 – that it was not yet time for fruit. This would seem to agree with both of Jesus’ statements in Greek that include the word for age, or a span or cycle of time, and is rendered in Young’s Literal Translation as: ‘No more from thee may fruit be — to the age;’ and ‘No more from thee — to the age — may any eat fruit;’ in Matthew and Mark respectively.
His disciples marveled at this miracle. Jesus had spoken faith-filled words and everything happened just as he spoke. Like many times before, Jesus demonstrated the authority given man, and the power of spoken faith. Both were stumbling blocks for the religious leaders who continually challenged his authority and accused him of blasphemy.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. — Mark 11:23 KJV
This is one of the most profound statements in the Bible spoken by Jesus. He lays out how faith works. Verse 24 completes the process. What you believe, speak and pray all have to agree. When they do, nothing is impossible. This is the key to unlock every promise God has given you in His Word.
It is no surprise that the fig tree miracle appears in Matthew 21 and Mark 11. Both chapters (and Mark 12) include parables condemning dead religion and countering the charges of the religious leaders. It is for this reason this miracle story should be studied in the context of the whole chapter and surrounding text (I have provided links below to both the miracle and all three chapters of both books).
It is also one of the best miracles to study to learn how faith works and the importance of speaking only what you truly believe. Learn from Jesus who only spoke what the Father told him to say. The Bible says that you will give an account of every idle or careless word. (Matthew 12:36) Choose your words wisely and only speak words that release faith and edify others. Affirm and study God’s Word daily and build your faith. And when obstacles get in your way, or trouble comes near, release some mountain-moving faith-filled words, believe in your heart, and glorify God by casting that mountain into the sea.
And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. — Mark 11:20-24 KJV
Read the Barren Fig Tree Miracle story in five popular translations – AMP, KJV, HCSB, NIV, The Message:
Additional Barren Fig Tree Miracle Resources
Jesus And The Fig Tree – Coloring page
The Fig Tree And The Temple In Mark 11:12-16 – A well referenced and interesting discussion of the fig tree miracle
Israel And The Fig Tree – A lengthy exposition on the fig tree as a symbol for Israel
The Withered Fig Tree – A sermon by C.H. Spurgeon
Search for Other Christian Web Sites.
Suggested Search Terms: Jesus curses fig tree, barren fig tree miracle, Matthew 21, Mark 11, barren fig tree parable, withered fig tree, spoken faith