The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again." And his disciples heard him say it. (Mark 11:12-14)
Mark, the gospel writer mentions that it was not season for figs; yet Jesus went to find out if the tree had any fruit. Nothing strange regarding that if one knew the real story of the fig tree. By the time of the passover, there should have been small forerunners of figs on this tree which had leaves, but Jesus did not find any. These small knobs of fruit called "Taqsh" was plucked by people to satisfy their hunger while travelling. And the fact remains that if a fig tree does not put out these small knobs of fruit, their won't be real figs that year. But Jesus' dealing with the tree symbolized much more than what the disciples thought. Here was a nation whom God had chosen and given much, but there wasn't any fruit to be seen; not even forerunners of the fruit. And so the stern response.
We can be "all leaves" Christians without any fruit and there remains the risk that God deals strictly in such cases.
We read of another fig tree in another parable mentioned by Jesus....Luke writes, "Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?' "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'" (Luke 13:6-9)
It was 3 years since Jesus had been proclaiming the kingdom of God, but there were not many takers among his own people. Of course, there were huge crowds following him because of the miracles, but most of the Jews did not want to take the narrow path that he preached. And so the parable of a fig tree planted in a vineyard but not bearing fruit for 3 years in a row. It was using up soil; the owner wanted it to be cut down; but the man who took care pleaded that the tree be given some more time....another year...eventually judgement came upon the nation because of their failure to bear fruit.
Jesus tells you and me this day, "This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:8)".
Let us then, fulfil this desire of our Saviour and bring glory to our Father in Heaven.