Why Did Jesus Curse the Fig Tree?

A fig tree in early spring.

Early one spring morning, just before Passover, Jesus walked with his disciples up the Mt. of Olives toward Jerusalem (Matt. 21:18).  They followed the same trail on which he had ridden a donkey the day before surrounded by enthusiastic pilgrims, the day Christians call Palm Sunday.*  But on this, the next morning, there is no mention of crowds.  It seems they had not yet reached the campsite on top of the hill where many pilgrims were gathered for Passover.  Instead, they were still passing the quiet orchards on the far side of the Mt. of Olives, near the small village of Bethphage.**