"And He said to it, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again!'"
According to Mark 11, Jesus took a short two-mile walk to Jerusalem on Monday morning. Along the way He cursed a fig tree because He was hungry but it only had leaves. Upon entering Jerusalem, He went to the temple and drove out the moneychangers. Passover was big business for those who sold sacrificial animals. But Jesus took drastic action again and overturned their tables and seats.
What do these two events have in common? First, Jesus was looking for the fruit of righteousness among His people. Sadly, all they had were "leaves." They had even profaned the sacred temple. They were only days away from crucifying the Son of God! His own people broke the covenant and received Him not. As covenant breakers, they must receive the curses of the covenant and be destroyed by the Romans within a generation.
Second, Jesus was demonstrating His authority to curse and cleanse. Soon the chief priests, scribes, and elders challenged Him and asked by what authority He took these actions. But He never answered their question! He knew their evil hearts and rejected their authority even though they were "religious" leaders.
Bill Murray once said there are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Neil Diamond and those who don't. Blaise Paschal said it better when he said there are two kinds of people in the world: sinners who think themselves righteous and the righteous who think themselves as sinners. The chief priests, scribes, and elders thought themselves very righteous. But in truth, they were consumed by their jealousy and blind to their sinfulness.
Far better to be righteous (in Christ) and think ourselves sinners! Indeed, the more Christ-like we become the more we mourn our sin, grieve our selfishness, and hunger for the fruit of righteousness.