You know what I really hate, a fig tree killer!
When I question the story about Jesus killing the fig tree in the Book of Mark (11:12-13, 20-21) and the Book of Matthew (21:18-21), I always get different responses. Here is an example from a Christian named Claro.
John the Atheist: Do you have to kill an innocent life form just to prove your point?
Claro: If the value of the “point” you are trying to prove is more valuable than the “innocent life”, why not. The Fig Tree represent he Jews.
Gosh! Kill an innocent life to prove a point! That is awful! I think it is the same excuse Hitler would utter to justify his “final solution”. No wonder Hitler was a Christian.
So what is more valuable to an innocent life? Maybe a Christian like Claro and an environmentalist atheist like me will always have trouble reconciling the term “valuable life”.
OK, let say, a scientist will have to demonstrate the dangerous effect of smoking and he will use a little bunny rabbit to demonstrate it. Fine, a lot of laboratory around the world are doing that and many animal-rights activists are fighting for the stop of such practice. Can we compare this on what Jesus did in the Book of Mark and Matthew?
According to the narrative, Jesus and his apostles are walking when Jesus felt hungry. he saw a fig tree and when he approached this it has no fruits. Therefore, this appalling hoodwink cursed the fig tree and the poor defenseless fig tree died. .
Mark 11: 12-14, 20-21 12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: 13And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. 14And Jesus answered and said unto it, "No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever." And his disciples heard it.
20And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. 21And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19And 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. 20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
That is not a parable. If you will read it, it is a complete account. There is nothing in the whole story that makes it look like a parable. Jesus is hungry, he saw a fig tree that does not have a fruit and he cursed it. PERIOD. That is why when a Christian insists that this is a parable; I always call such tactic the “parable excuse”.
A parable is a short moral story that often uses animal characters. Well unless you say that Jesus was the animal in the account, the story is not a parable. It does not give any moral lesson. It is a complete narration. The fig tree is not a symbol, a metaphor or any excuse you can think of. The fig tree in the story does not represent the Jews or anything. The fig tree in the story is...well a fig tree!
How will you connect this fig tree and the Jews? Let us see what kind of an example this tree fiend told his apostles.
21Jesus 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. " 22"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. – Matthew 21:21-22
They are not talking about the Jews. They are talking about faith. So will you kill an innocent life to talk about faith? What was Jesus’ important point in this verse? Can faith move mountains? I do not think so. (Oh yes, faith can move mountains – in your dreams!)
Now is Claro saying that the event in Matthew 21:12-17 are also parables? When Jesus upturns the tables in the Temple, is that mere story telling? If Claro will only read the whole chapter and verse, he will see that the event from the fig tree to the upturning on the moneychanger’s tables were not parables.
Now Matthew 21:28 is a parable. It started as “certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.” Here we see Jesus telling a story. Matthew 21:33 is also a parable. However, that does not mean that starting to Matthew 21:1 up to the last of the chapters are all parables (Non-Sequitur)!
Is Luke 13: 6-9 connected with the event in Matthew 21: 18-21 or Mark 11:12-14, 20-21? No, it is not. Let see...
" 6He spake also this parable; "A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. " 7"Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? " 8"And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: " 9"And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. " 10And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath.
Here we are talking about a parable about a fig tree that does not have a fruit for 3 years...3 years! Jesus just saw the fig tree in Matthew and Mark that day; we are not talking about 3 years.
The fig tree in the parable is a symbol to Israel and the fruits of righteousness. Remember that Luke 13:6-9 is a parable, the author said it himself (He spake also this parable), while the fig tree in Matthew and Mark does not symbolized anything.
Beside, you will not find the story of the fig tree murder in the Book of Luke.
Therefore, as a show of distraction Claro came with this excuse:
Peter called what Jesus said regarding the fig tree "cursedst", that's Peter's word, not Jesus'.
Really? @ Claro
Well according to Webster, a curse is something causes misery or death. Maybe Peter just knows his dictionary more than you and Jesus do @ Claro.
Killing innocent life is not a virtue. There is no excuse. In addition, you cannot make me worship a beast who brutalized trees because it does not have any fruit.
Until next time,
Please love your fig trees...