In 2023, the Ginghamsburg Church community is following the Bible in One Year reading plan. Anyone can download the Bible in One Year app and join the discussion in the comments below, or by joining and posting to the ginghamsburg facebook group. The following post is a reflection written by Ginghamsburg Church community member Laura Griffin.
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
The account of Jesus cursing a fig tree is as perplexing as it is brief. In three verses, we learn that Jesus was hungry, saw a fig tree, found no figs being produced, and declared, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” We know that he said it loud enough for his disciples to hear him. Scripture is also clear that it is not fig-bearing season. The fig tree was simply being a fig tree, doing what it is supposed to be doing. So what exactly was going on with Jesus? I think to get the full picture – and Jesus’ point – we have to keep reading. The story to follow is Jesus entering the temple courts and turning over tables. He is angry, and righteously so, because his Father’s house of prayer has become a den of robbers. Dishonest gain and circus-like tactics have replaced genuine preparation for animal offerings. So now we have a puzzling account of Jesus’ apparent anger at the fig tree followed by his understandable anger in the temple courts. Let’s keep reading…verse 20 picks up the next morning and here we are at the fig tree again. Peter says, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” It is Jesus’ response here where the complete teaching becomes clearer. He begins explaining to the disciples that if they speak things in prayer and faith, they need to be prepared for them to happen. Jesus then specifically warns them that if they’re holding a grudge, offer forgiveness in their prayer. Jesus’ spoken curse on the fig tree manifested in the fig trees’ death. Speech has power and Jesus is telling his disciples to be careful to pray with forgiving speech, not begrudging speech, because their words, also, will have the power to cause harm. So it is with us.
Is there anyone in your life that you are speaking harm over in your thoughts? Can you turn this into a prayer, offering forgiveness?