Mk 11:12-14 The next morning, Monday, they return to Jerusalem. On the way, Jesus is hungry and tries to find some fruit on a fig tree. (Fig trees were common alongside roads and houses where they provided shade from the hot sun.)
The tree was covered in leaves as the new growth was flourishing during the warmer spring days leading up to the Passover festival. Jesus expects to find green (unripe) figs. But when he looks in amongst the leaves, he can’t find a single fruit – so he condemns the tree as useless!
Jesus sees the fig tree as a parable representing the Jewish leaders. They, like the tree, make a fine outward show; but they fail to bear the fruit of righteous living. So, like the tree, they are condemned to destruction (see Luke 13:6-9 & Hosea 9:10).
Mk 11:20-25 When Jesus and the disciples pass the tree the next day, it has withered and died. The disciples are amazed. But Jesus tells them that they will see far more amazing things than this when they learn to pray with greater faith about accomplishing difficult deeds.
Steps leading up to the Hulda Gate
of the Temple, Jerusalem