I was at the end of a three-mile walk when I noticed my hands were a bit swollen, so I started to debate in my heart if I should go one more mile, or call it quits and just go home. My neighbor’s voice startled me out of my own thoughts.
I said; “good morning”
She asked; “would you like some figs?”.
I responded with; you know what? I have never seen or eaten figs before.
She said; “they are nice. They are in season now and they are all over my backyard. I have to give them away or they’ll spoil. They are just everywhere”.
She then said; “I had left a bag for another lady but she never showed up. Would you like to have a bag?”
I said “Yes, thank you”.. and took them.
She finally said: “They’re called Turkey figs, if you ever want to look them up”.
After researching Turkey figs on the internet, I understood what she meant by they are everywhere. She meant Figs are prolific (bearing much fruit. Kind of like fishes if you know what I mean 😊).
The truth is when she first asked if I wanted figs, I thought of the story of Jesus being hungry and coming to a fig tree – Mark 11:12-25.
“12: The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13: 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. 14: Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.”
It wasn’t the season for figs yet, so when Jesus came and found nothing but leaves, why was he frustrated enough to curse it, saying “May no one ever eat fruit from you again”? was it because he expected more from the tree? Or was it because the tree was being itself?
In Matthew 24: 32-33 Jesus warns his disciples concerning the end of the age, and the things which should come to pass at the coming of the son of man:
“32: Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33: Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door”
We all have our own impressions of who Jesus is. In our generation we’ve created Jesus in our own image. There’s the gentle Jesus who always forgives us no matter what we do. There’s the Jesus who gives us money as long as we pay our tithes to our church. There’s the kind Jesus who doesn’t say anything except when we ask him.
I’ve never actually heard of the Jesus who has Davidic genes coursing through his veins, who like a military leader expects more from us. The one who prunes us so we could be prolific like the fig tree, or the one who can be frustrated enough to curse a tree for not producing fruit before it’s time..
As I looked at the fig fruit for the first time. It was unimpressive. It tasted sweet and it’s probably healthy, but it reminded me of Brussel sprouts – ugly, yet healthy. I had never tasted it before so I couldn’t really say if I liked the taste or not. I just knew it tasted sweet. And tasting It made me ponder on the fact that Jesus wanted this fruit bad enough that he cursed the tree that produces it for not having any to give to him.
Beyond it’s looks and it’s taste, I’ve come to understand that the fig fruit has a lot of lessons to teach. I thought it’s appearance was unimpressive – So did the religious leaders of Jesus’s day. They probably looked at him and his disciples and thought him unimpressive, fulfilling the scriptures in Isaiah 53:2:
“He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
I don’t think it’s a coincidence either that Adam and Eve tried to cover themselves with Fig leaves?? Genesis 3:7
“Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.”
How profound are his lessons when we seek him first…