The Cursed Fig Tree, Whited Sepulchers, and Selfish Hypocrisy

Traditionally, Tuesday of the Holy Week marks several important lessons from the Master Teacher. One lesson that has struck me, is the lesson of the fig tree.

As the Master traveled with his companions, the grew hungry. There was a fig tree, brightly bearing its colors before the season, suggesting that it carried fruit ready to eat. Hungrily examining it, He found it to be barren. “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever,” he said, and Peter noticed “Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away!”

Jesus used the opportunity to show is wondering apostles of the power of faith. And lest I challenge His lesson, I reiterate His teaching that “when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” If we have faith, and our prayers are acceptable to God, we will receive the answers to our prayers.

But in combination to another of the Master’s lessons, wherin He condemned the teachers of the Jews, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness!”

The fig tree in our first story, is condemned, but not because it didn’t have fruit when the Lord was hungry, as none of the other trees did either, but because it wantonly displayed itself as having such, while being no more fit for feeding the hungry travelers than its fellows. 

Like the hypocritical leaders in the second story, the Lord condemned its pretension; we then, are to be condemned of hypocrisy and unearned claims of righteousness and holiness.

This week, as we walk daily with the Lord, let us remember to be humble, never claiming ourselves to be more or better than we are, and remembering Him who purifies us.

Let us remember that as we invite others to come and eat, it is Christ who fills men that they never hunger, and we are but messengers of His feast.

Perhaps we might enjoy a fig or two to remember this lesson as we feast on Sunday. Perhaps we can learn from the ostentatious tree how not to behave, and remember, yet again, the power of the Master.

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