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A Parable of Judgement

Matthew 18-22 In the morning, as he was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry and noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, "Never bear fruit again!" And soon the fig tree withered up. The disciples were utterly amazed and asked, "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" Then Jesus told them, "Truly, if you have faith and don't doubt, you can do things like this and much more. You can even say to this Mount of Olives, 'Move over into the ocean,' and it will. You can get anything --anything you ask for in prayer--if you believe."

Jesus performed a supernatural unique act upon the fig tree outside Jerusalem, during the final week of His time on earth. This is the only miracle in which Christ cursed instead of a blessing, He destroyed the life of the tree instead of restoring it to produce.

The cursing of the fig tree was a symbolic denunciation by The Messiah and of the hypocritical worship of Israel, which Jesus likened to the fig tree He had doomed. Jesus showed righteous outrage. This single event teaches of two significant lessons that is related to conveying spiritual messages.

Fruit usually appeared on a fig tree before the leaves, and the tree Jesus cursed had been in full leaf, but bore no fruit. Such a fruitless tree, was useless, similarly, the Jewish Nation rendered to be unfruitful spiritually, because of legalism, man-made tradition and the hunger for power by those in charge. Many leaders, scribes and teachers rejected Jesus Christ and encouraged the nation to do the same.

A fruitless tree, a fruitless people. The nation was spiritually barren. Jesus attack was against the hypocrites among the people professing to believe. Jesus found great opposition by those high in the Religious ranks of the Jerusalem Council. Jesus was a threat to their whole way of life that they had attained for themselves. The people claimed to belong to God as His people but were disobedient to the Covenant conditions, thereby they deceived themselves in their hypocrisy and legalism, especially the Pharisees and Scribes. God's Covenant mercies became obligations and religious rituals, not sincere or real to the people, therefore their inner nature was far from God.

God wants acknowledgment of His Sovereignty and repentance from His people so He can offer them insight. Unless there is repentance, there is the suffering of destruction. All sinners who refuse to repent will be under the judgement of God.

The fruitless tree had failed in its purpose and Jesus rightfully expressed anger. In Israel Jesus had only found religious legalism without any holiness. Even though the nation through history had been delivered by miracles time and time again, their hearts remained stubborn to God. Israel had every chance to choose to acknowledge Him, but they hardened their hearts. God continually warned them to repent. God promises blessings for obedience and destruction for disobedience.

Jesus came to save His people from their sin and its consequence, the damned fig tree was a warning. The symbolism is applicable to people of all ages, and not just to the nation of Israel.

To choose destruction without thinking ahead shows the waywardness of the people's minds and emphasizes their ignorance of God's Word. Israel seemed to be always in a cycle of rebellion against God and His Word. They never listened to the prophets who spoke for God's messages to the people.

He removed a barren fig tree like a farmer who would take away a fruitless tree from His orchard. The perished tree was a symbol of that which was a reality. However, to the amazement of the disciples, the tree withered as Jesus words of it was fulfilled directly and knew not how Jesus destroyed the fruitless fig tree. The disciples questioned how had the tree withered so soon. Jesus let them know the power of faith, He used the situation to teach the power of believing prayer. He removed a barren fig tree like a farmer who would take away a fruitless tree from His orchard. The perished tree was a symbol of that which was a reality. Jesus pointed out that a praying disciple is gifted with supernatural power of faith, that can achieve sudden results.

The sudden decay of the fig tree by supernatural means is a symbol of difficulties, that can be removed by the supernatural power of faith that comes from trust and belief in God's faithfulness to His people, without doubting Him and have a forgiving attitude, for He hears and answers prayers.

The promises of prayer is a result of security in God and His Word as revealed in Jesus Christ.

By cursing the fig tree, it was cut off and died. The cursing of the fig tree is related to the first and the second cleansing of The Temple in Jerusalem by Jesus.

The fig tree and The Temple had an appearance of life and activity but both were fruitless.

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