At the time Jesus travelled to Jerusalem the city was in ferment. This Jesus was causing havoc in many ways but notably among the religious and political leaders of the day. Crowds were attracted to him, while others were suspicious and even confused about his teachings and healings. The knives were out, as we say.
They said he was coming. He is the one who healed the blind man and raised Lazarus, and he was coming to keep the feast of the Passover.
The journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem takes up ten chapters of Luke’s Gospel before we come to Palm Sunday. It comes, I suggest, as no surprise that on this journey Jesus issues strong warnings to his followers. Luke tells two stories. The first tells of Pilate’s massacre of Galileans; the second, the fall of the tower of Siloam. He asserts that their death was not retribution for their sins, but then goes on to warn that worse will happen to those who sin and should know better.
This threatening tone is then put into context. The barren fig tree is to be nurtured with the hope that it will bear fruit, but only for so long. If we fail to see the need for change in our own lives to those things that separate us from God, then time maybe running out.