Ficus carica / Common Fig

If you have ever had the fortune of being on holiday on a Spanish Costa, a Greek Island or the Italian Riviera you may have noticed many large black sticky stains on the narrow streets and paths leading to beaches, tavernas, pizzerias and restaurants.  If you looked above these stains you would have seen the culprit, Figs!

Ficus carica Common Fig

Fig trees though deciduous will reach a height of 25ft and have unruly crowns with fragrant foliage when produced. Leaves are large dinner plate in size and deeply lobed with 3 or 5 lobes. The trunk has smooth white bark. Uncommon for most trees Fig Trees either are all male or all female, Holly and Yew are the same. So, when you see them growing for their fruit they will always be in pairs.  Those without fruit will be male.  Those with the fruit will be female.

First mentioned in Gen 3 v 7 when Adam and Eve knew they had sinned and wished to cover their modesty and “stitched aprons from fig leaves” One of the trees in the Garden of Eden itself.  It is also mentioned in Deut.8 v 8 within a long list of benefits when obedience is key and as one of the valuable products of Israel. They are a sign of peace and prosperity where in 1 Kings 4 v 25; Micah 4 v 4; Zechariah 3 v 10 it is prophesied that sitting under one’s own fig tree as well as a vine is important.

In 1 Sam 30 v 12 fig cakes are mentioned and I am rather partial to them, so it is good to know that Fig Trees produce fruit twice a year with one crop as new leaves sprout, and another with, established leaves. Remember the sticky marks on the paths I mentioned.  However, that leads me to a problem.  When we read all above why on earth did Jesus curse the Fig tree when He approached it near Bethany as we read in Marks Gospel verses 11 – 14 & 21.  Not only did He curse it. He killed it never to fruit again.

This has caused much perplexity to many a theologian, I am not theologically trained enough to decide, but I could offer some sticky suggestions.

The choice of Fig leaves by Adam and Eve to hide their shame was possibly one reason and when only leaves were on the tree and no fruit, Christ was reminded of the fall of man and the reason he was sent to earth. It was after this he was angry and cleared the temple.

Fig trees bear fruit twice and although need a male tree present, this was a solitary tree in full leaf, which means it should already had fruit on it, well ripened or forming from pollen from a male tree elsewhere or by the fig wasp.  Christ would have known that.   There should have been some sort of fruit on there.  It was not very much later Christ made a man 4 days dead walk out of a tomb.

I just find it so interesting that this tree found in the Garden of Eden, and found in most Stately homes of note in the UK today and around the world was cursed by my Saviour, but will I ask Him when I get home why I think not, I’ll just say Hallelujah when there.