“Faith And Forgiveness”

As he did after the first day {And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.  Mark 11:11} Jesus withdrew from the city at the close of the second day also{And when even was come, he went out of the city.  Mark 11:19}. Mark’s account now indicates the beginning of the third day,” in the morning” {And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.  Mark 11:20}, thus Tuesday. On this day Mark describes the withering of the fig tree {And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away.  Mark 11:21}, which Jesus had cursed the previous day.  Like Mark, Matthew’s note’s the beginning of a brand new day ‘in the morning’ {And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away. Matthew 21:18} For Matthew, though, this be the second day (Monday), and the fig tree is cursed by Jesus, and withers the same day { And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!  Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.  Matthew 21:19-22}

Both Matthew and Mark relate the cleansing of the temple to the cursing of the fig tree. The activity in the temple, like the fig tree, had the appearance of life but could be as fruitless as was the greed of the money changers. Mark links the two events by recording the cursing of the tree before the temple episode and the withering of the tree after { And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.  And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.  And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.  And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.  And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursed is withered away.  Mark 11:14-21}. The fig tree was often a symbol of judgement upon Israel in the Old Testament { I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.  Jeremiah 8:13} and Mark uses this symbolism to represent judgement upon the religious observances in the Temple.

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