DID JESUS GET HANGRY?
Did Jesus get hangry? Apparently.
In Mark 11 Jesus is hungry and sees a fig tree that looks promising because of it’s leaves, but when he gets closer, he sees it has no fruit. So Jesus curses the tree and it withers by the next day.
This seems out of character for Jesus who had recently said that anyone not against him is for him. Not only is he hangry, but Jesus acts on his anger to destroy this innocent tree. Mark even points out that it wasn’t the season for figs. Jesus would have known that. It doesn’t make sense. That is, unless you pay attention to the story sandwiched between Jesus cursing the fruitless tree and the disciples noticing that it withered to the roots.
What looks impressive but has no fruit?
Wrapped in the fig tree parable Jesus was apparently acting out to make a dramatic point, we see Jesus pronounce judgement on the temple. Though it had all the appearances of life, the temple establishment was corrupt and fruitless. Rather than being a house of prayer for all the nations, it was exploiting and excluding the people that came to find God. So Jesus put an end to it (at least for a while) through another acted parable. Like the tree, the temple was not destroyed at once, but as Jesus’ teachings made clear over the next few days, it was coming.
What makes God hangry?
Jesus may have felt hangry like we all do from time to time, but this isn’t about that. He is revealing God’s love for people and his anger at those systemic injustices that hurt them. When those called to bring the blessings of God to the world use their position to exploit and exclude those in need, God will find another way to bless the nations.
Interestingly, people from every nation showed up in Jerusalem six weeks later, when it WAS time for figs (at the festival of the first fruits or Pentecost). It was then that God poured out his Spirit on ALL PEOPLE and took it out of the hands of the religious gate keepers. The Temple was destroyed within that generation like Jesus said and now is found in little communities of Jesus followers all around the world.
We are the place of God’s presence on earth, not for our own sake, but for the sake of the world. When we look good from a distance, but up close have no fruit, God still gets hangry. But if we stay connected to the Source of life in us, we will bear fruit in season and our leaves will be healing for the nations. (Rev. 22:2)