Jesus Christ and the fig tree curse?

Why did He curse the fig tree although it was not the time for the tree to bear fruit?

We’ve discussed this a few times recently, so I will be brief:

  1. The fig tree throughout Scripture symbolizes Israel. Jesus was really referring to the Pharisees who were not accepting his teaching and thus not “bearing fruit.” There are similar references to “bearing fruit” throughout the Gospel, with discussion of how trees that don’t bear should be cut down.

  2. Additionally, the type of fig tree in Jesus’ area would have been expected to bear fruit at the time Jesus was checking it.



  1. Additionally, the type of fig tree in Jesus’ area would have been expected to bear fruit at the time Jesus was checking it.

Disagree. If Scripture says that it was not time for the figs, then I believe the INERRANT Word of God.

Mark 11:12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry. 13 Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, he went over to see if he could find anything on it. When he reached it he found nothing but leaves; it was not the time for figs. 14 And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!” And his disciples heard it.

Bear is correct, above, in #1. Not #2.

Now, let’s consider the situation. The Son of God, who could feed 5000 with 2 loaves and 7 fish and made wine out of water, came to a fig which had no figs.

Don’t you think if He really wanted figs that He could have made them for Himself out of stones? Or out of thin air, for that matter.

So, the answer is clear. Jesus simply wanted to make the parable come to life. There is a parable about the fig tree.

Luke 13: The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree. [d] 6 And he told them this parable: “There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, 7 he said to the gardener, ‘For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. [So] cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?’ 8 He said to him in reply, ‘Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; 9 it may bear fruit in the future. If not you can cut it down.’”

In other words, another year has passed and Israel has still not borne fruit. It’s time to chop it down.

Anyway, that’s my two cents.


To add to your point, fig trees do not bear their leaves outside of the fruit bearing season. It is the presence of leaves on the fig tree that advertised the fact that there SHOULD be fruit on the tree. This was symbolic of the religious authorities of the day, who though appearing as if they should bear fruit (such as faith), they clearly were not. Jesus rightly curses the fig tree who in appearance should bear fruit, but was not.


I feel silly but I always felt bad for the fig tree :frowning:


It’s kind of the underdog in this story, isn’t it? If it’s any consolation, we still eat figs today.


I did too. Jesus seemed awfully harsh on a poor little tree that wasn’t doing anything but being a tree.


As I read somewhere a while back, a fig tree will bear a small crop of figs early in the season–sort of pre-season–if it is going to be a producing tree during the actual fig season. So if you look at the tree during this early season and there are no figs, that means the tree is not going to be a producer in the season. So, Jesus could have reasonably expected to find a few figs on the tree, even though it wasn’t the season yet.


Jeremiah 8:13 warns about the Lord seeing that there are no grapes on the vine and no figs on the fig tree.


I thought it showed Jesus had anger issues.

I also felt bad for the fig tree.


Considering after that He clears the Temple, for the second time no less, that assessment may be accurate. :flushed::flushed:


And why did the fig tree die after Jesus cursed it?

Cause Jesus is GAWD!

1 Like

Better produce some fruits. Read Matthew 25:14-30.


This used to puzzle me, too, until I decided to grow a fruit tree. In the spring, before the leaves appear, what do we see first? Blossoms! When these fall off, they leave a tiny node attached to the stem of the blossom, and this node will grow and become fruit, no matter whether an apple, peach, or even a fig.

The fact that there was nothing on this tree but leaves, indicates that blossom time had ended, but no nodes were formed which would become future fruit. No wonder Jesus cursed it. It was a lazy tree, fit for nothing. He should have seen some tiny nodes along with the leaves.

This taught me that our desires could be likened to the nodes - some of them may eventually be fruitful, some will fall off from storms and wind. If we are not even forming good holy desires, where will our fruitfulness be?


The story of that tree does not end on that day.

In fact the following day one apostle remarks: “teacher, the fig tree you cursed has died”.

The apostles were hungry as Jesus was.

Jesus explains that with faith a tree can be rooted in the sea, (and bear fruit). But we must wake up early in the morning and follow Jesus into the temple and be hungry to bear fruit.


1 Like

Cursed was any plant producing many pleasant leaves but zero fruits, as with many Pharisees.

1 Like

It’s like the parable of when the Bride Groom comes, be ready!

Mark 13:33 New International Version (NIV)

Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come.

It is a revelation of the power of Christ to be the judge of the world.


The need to be ready was not for the Pharisees who were not following Jesus on that hour, but for the apostles who the day of the curse remained in Martha and Mary’s house.

So the lesson, as obvious, was and is for the disciples.

1 Like

To his apostles Jesus said that those like Pharisees will be uprooted, destroyed and his disciples with faith will bear fruit if willing
and ready, even if the tree (apostles) and mountain (apostles) are put into the sea.
As the Baptist said “every tree not producing fine fruit will be cut and put (its roots) into the fire”.

1 Like
DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit