Lisa asked:

Can you explain why Jesus cursed the fig tree?

Jimmy Akin replied:

"This is an often asked question and the answer is that the way fig trees work is not the same as other fruit trees. Fig trees even though they do have certain seasons in which they fruit...they also do so prior to having put out their leaves. So one of the standard interpretations of this is that even though it wasn't yet time for the figs, the Gospel specified that the tree was already in leaf. And so that would have been a sign that it could well have figs on it because fig trees frequently put out their fruit before they put out their leaves. And so, as a result, Jesus saw the leaves and went to look to see if there was any fruit on the tree and he found the answer is no...

That made it a suitable instance to use as a kind of enacted parable because one of the things about the temple in Jesus' day was that it was outwardly religious but it wasn't producing the spiritual fruit that it was supposed to for God. And that's one of the reasons he cleared the court in the temple of the money changers and so forth who were taking up space that was meant for gentiles to come and pray.

So he uses the tree as a parallel for the temple and then just like the tree whithers in the same way he predicted in the next chapter...the doom of the temple when the Romans come in and end up destroying the temple. And so again there's a parallel what happens to the temple and what happens to the fig tree."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2016)

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Show air date: April 28, 2016

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 45:40

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