The Fig Tree an Analogy of Israel
Two stories unrelated but patched together with a message from the Lord in the end. What is the Gospel author really trying to tell us? The fig tree symbolically represents Israel, full of foliage but without fruit. The cursing of the tree and its withering later is a foretelling of what is the future fate of Israel, the temple and the city of Jerusalem. The Temple in Jerusalem was a very important symbol of Jewish life and religion and Jesus notices, how the norms of worship had become so commercial – lots of prosperity ‘foliage’ around but no fruit, ‘meaningless worship’. Jesus is angry and hence disrupts the whole arrangement and quotes Isaiah. The existing situation in the temple made it impossible for it to be a house of prayer and was totally unfit for worship. Hence the temple needs to be replaced by a new temple, worthy of worship, none other than the person of the crucified and risen Lord Jesus himself. Jesus then asks the apostles to have faith in God and persevere in prayer with total surrender to God and with a forgiving heart.
Do we identify ourselves as the Fig Tree? We seem so involved in prayer groups, parish cells, projects at work and then turn out to be totally different persons – arrogant, defensive, preachy and forget the main message of the Gospel –
Live in the Spirit of God,
Love like the Father and
Pray like our Lord.