And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it…
I. ITS SYMBOLIC SIGNIFICANCE.
1. Reasons for regarding it in a symbolic sense.
(1) Neither its fruitlessness nor its leafiness was a thing of its own volition, therefore the tree was not blameworthy.
(2) But as a symbol it was full of instruction.
(a) As a correct representation of the heirarchical party in Jerusalem, adorned with the leaves of a pretentious piety, but utterly barren of the real fruit of a holy life, or reverence for God's Son.
(b) As a correct representation of all pretension to piety.
II. REASONS FOR REGARDING ITS DOOM SYMBOLIC.
1. There was neither conscience nor heart in the tree to be hurt by its withering.
2. Fall of significance, however, as the type of the doom that awaits all those whom its fruitlessness represented.
III. REASONS FOR REGARDING ITS SYMBOLIC DOOM JUST.
1. As a fig tree in good situation and covered with leaves, fruit was reasonably expected.
(1) So with the Jewish people, as taught in the parable of the wicked husbandmen.
(2) The fruitlessness of those whom the tree represented was blameworthy, and their guilt enhanced by their pretension.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.