On the Monday after Palm Sunday, Jesus cursed the barren fig tree. It was in the morning when Jesus was returning to the city, and He was hungry. After seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. (Matthew 21:18-19)
The gospels of Matthew and Mark record the account of Jesus finding a fig tree that was leafy and green but without any fruit. Even though Mark's gospel tells us that at the time it was not the season for figs, Jesus cursed the tree, cutting it off from ever bearing fruit again, and the tree withered.
People have been discussing this incident for years. They are puzzled why Jesus cursed the fig tree when it wasn't even the time for the tree to bear figs. In Luke chapters 6 and 13, Jesus used fig trees as a kind of object lesson for spiritual maturity emphasizing the need for believers to bear fruit.
Jesus became disappointed that the fig tree appeared to be fruitful, but it was fruitless. This fig tree was deceptive because its leaves promised something the tree could not deliver. The leaves promised fruit, but there was none. The tree had nothing to offer, and Jesus considered it useless. Because the fig tree was barren when it promised fruit, Jesus pronounced a curse upon it because of its hypocrisy. The lack of fruit was not the reason for the curse. It was because the tree was making promises it could not deliver.
Are you looking good with lots of leaves on the outside but not bearing fruit? If so, you are like that barren fig tree. Jesus cares more about the fruit you bear than about how you look on the outside. Jesus is looking for fruit in the lives of His people. He doesn't want us to be hypocritical with only the appearance of what we can offer. He wants us to produce fruit to offer.