The curse on the tree

Mark 11:14 AV
And Jesus answered and said unto it, ‭
No man¹ eat fruit² of thee hereafter for ever³.‭
And his disciples heard⁴ ‭[it‭].‭

¹) Nobody, no one.
²) The fruit of the tree.
³) Here the Greek word αἰών‭ aion is used, meaning: for ever, an unbroken age, perpetuity of time, eternity‭.
⁴) To hear‭; to attend to, consider what is or has been said‭; to understand, perceive the sense of what is said‭.

Other translations

And He said to it, No one ever again shall eat fruit from you. And His disciples were listening [to what He said]. [AMP]

And he said to it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard it. [ESV]

He addressed the tree: "No one is going to eat fruit from you again--ever!" And his disciples overheard him. [MSB]

And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it. [KJV]

Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. [NIV]

Then Jesus said to the tree, "May no one ever eat your fruit again!" And the disciples heard him say it. [NLT]

In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it. [NKJV]


And Jesus answered and said unto it

That is to the fig tree. This is a Jewish way of speaking, mostly used used as a reaction to what was said, or to some action, but sometimes also when nothing was said before.
The Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, leave out the word “answered”, as they do also the word “Jesus”; and which is likewise omitted by the Latin Vulgate, though the other is retained.

No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever

Which means nobody, which is similar to what the other evangelist says: let no fruit grow on thee. For where no fruit is, none can eat it.

This tree may not only be an emblem of the Jewish people, but for all who make a great show of their religion.
From the Pharisees and scribes whe know that they enjoyed a great many privileges and likewise it is of many pastors, ministers and elders.

From the ways they showed themselves, and from the way they were, and are, speaking, one might have hoped to find with them the fruits of good works, righteousness, and holiness.
Yes, one might have been hoped for, and looked for this; but instead, there was nothing but empty words, and an observance of some insignificant rites and traditions.

But this was only followed by utter ruin and destruction.
This was true for the tree, this was true for the Pharisees and scribes, and this will also be true
▪︎ for everyone who only outwardly professes their religion.
▪︎ for everyone who only enjoy the means of grace,
▪︎ for everyone who only make great pretensions to devotion and piety.

▪︎ It might be expected that we should do good works,
▪︎ It might be expected that we should live well pleasing to God,
▪︎ It might be expected that we should bring forth fruit to the glory of His name.

But …
▪︎ when we only talk of good works, but do none;
▪︎ when we only talk of fruit, of grace, and of righteousness, but they are not found in us;
Then at the last day, He will cast us as dry wood, as a withered branch, into the everlasting fire, being a fit fuel for it.

Do not misunderstand me now.
I’m not saying that you will have to do good works to earn your way into His Kingdom, for you cannot earn your way in, this is only grace. But when you have received His grace you will want to tell others about it, and the change in your life will be visible in your actions, and in the way you live.

This tree was an emblem of the Jews: Christ being hungry, and very desirous of the salvation of men, came first to them, from whom, on account of their large profession of religion, and great pretensions to holiness, and the many advantages they enjoyed, humanly speaking, much fruit of righteousness might have been expected.

But, alas! he found nothing but mere words, empty boasts, an outward show of religion, an external profession, and a bare performance of trifling ceremonies, and oral traditions; wherefore Christ rejected them, and in a little time after, the kingdom of God, the Gospel, was taken away from them, and their temple, city, and nation, entirely destroyed.

The tree, and what happened to God’s people should be a loud warning to us!
But still, God, by His infinite grace, never left them, He is gathering them now again from all over the world to the country He has given them, though they are still blind to the great miracle He has performed through the Messiah

And his disciples heard [it]

“this saying”, as the Persic version adds, and took notice of it, being in company with him.

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Jesus does not curse the fig tree in a whim of anger or disappointment, but in order to teach His disciples a lesson.

The Greek ‘apo-krinomai’ (literally: answer) here means ‘to respond’.
The reason for Jesus’ vehement response is not so much that the tree does not serve the importance of the moment (to satisfy His hunger), but that despite the auspicious impression the tree gives from a distance, there is nothing to indicate that it will still bear fruit later (cf. Luke 13:6-9).

Jesus’ curse of the fig tree is a symbolic act that is a picture of Israel’s rejection. because the nation of Israel and its leaders reject the Messiah.

Just as the fig tree with its full leaf gave the impression of bearing fruit, so Israel could be expected by virtue of its special covenant relationship to accept the Messiah, but this proved not to be the case.

Very concretely, this judgment will take shape in the coming destruction of city and temple (Mark 13:2). In the following passages of the gospel, the thought of judgment recurs.

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