[From January 4, 2016]
"On the following day, when they came from Bethany, (Jesus) was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see whether perhaps he would find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again!' And his disciples heard it."
Weird story here.
Jesus is in Jerusalem. It's his final week of life. He knows where this is leading. He's going to have to confront the religious leaders. They'll be his demise. He's entered the city to great fanfare the day before... but now the "messy part" begins. On the morning of day two in the city, on his way in, he passes a fig tree. He's hungry (must've forgot to grab breakfast before he left for the day). But there aren't any figs on the tree. Bummer, right?!? But then he curses the tree (note: when they pass this same tree the following day, it's withered!). But here's the kicker. Luke tells us "it was not the season for figs."
So why did Jesus get so upset? Surely he knew it wasn't "FIG SEASON" (cue Bugs Bunny vs. Elmer Fudd in the classic "Wabbit Season/Duck Season" bit!). Did Jesus expect the laws of nature to bend to his will? Or is this merely an example of Jesus' humanity? We all get hungry...and frustrated... at times.
Now, granted, in verses 20-24, Luke uses the withered tree as an opportunity for Jesus to teach on the power of faith and prayer. So maybe THAT was the primary reason for this incident. But still, it's a curious story, isn't it?
It's not a very spiritual interpretation, but I think I'm going with the humanity of Jesus here. We all get frustrated, even Jesus! (This could also be the makings of a first-century SNICKERS commercial - 'You're not yourself, Jesus, when you're hungry!') Maybe this is a call to patience... when those around me are frustrated and disappointed, don't judge them too harshly. Even Jesus had a few less-than-stellar moments. It happens to the best of us. Persevere. Have grace for others. (And pack snacks, next time, Jesus!)