The parable (Lk 21:29-21:29)

“Then he told them

A parable.

‘Look at the fig tree!

Look at all the trees!’”

 

Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said that he was going to tell them another parable (Καὶ εἶπεν παραβολὴν αὐτοῖς).  They were to look at the fig tree (Ἴδετε τὴν συκῆν), in fact, all the trees (καὶ πάντα τὰ δένδρα).  This is similar to Matthew, chapter 24:32, and Mark, chapter 13:28, who are word for word the same as each other.  Mark indicated that Jesus said they were to learn a lesson or parable (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) about the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  Earlier in Matthew, chapter 21:19-20, Jesus had cursed a fig tree for not having fruit, but here there was a lesson or a little parable to be learned (μάθετε τὴν παραβολήν) from the fig tree (Ἀπὸ δὲ τῆς συκῆς).  These fig trees play an important role in these stories or parables.  Have you ever seen a fig tree?

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Next year cut it down (Lk 13:9-13:9)

“If it bears fruit

Next year,

Well and good!

But if not,

You can cut it down.”

 

κἂν μὲν ποιήσῃ καρπὸν εἰς τὸ μέλλον· εἰ δὲ μήγε, ἐκκόψεις αὐτήν.

 

Luke concluded this unique parable story.  This gardener told his owner that if this fig tree would bear fruit during this time (κἂν μὲν ποιήσῃ καρπὸν εἰς τὸ), then well and good (μέλλον).  However, if it did not (εἰ δὲ μήγε), that they would cut it down (ἐκκόψεις αὐτήν).  There was one more chance, but only one more.  Have you ever given anyone an extra chance?

Wait a year (Lk 13:8-13:8)

“The gardener replied.

‘Sir!

Let it alone

For one more year,

Until I dig

Around it.

I will put

Manure on it.’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτῷ Κύριε, ἄφες αὐτὴν καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος, ἕως ὅτου σκάψω περὶ αὐτὴν καὶ βάλω κόπρια,

 

Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus continued with his parable of the fig tree with no fruit.  Jesus said that the gardener replied respectfully (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει αὐτῷ), calling him lord (Κύριε).  He wanted the owner to let the tree alone for one more year (ἄφες αὐτὴν καὶ τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος).  He was going to dig around it (ἕως ὅτου σκάψω περὶ αὐτὴν) and put manure on it (καὶ βάλω κόπρια).  There would be one more chance.  Maybe a little fertilizer would help.  Have you ever used fertilizers?

Cut the tree down (Lk 13:7-13:7)

“Thus,

He said

To the gardener.

‘See!

For three years,

I have come

Looking for fruit

On this fig tree.

Still,

I find none.

Cut it down!

Why should it

Be wasting the soil?’”

 

εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τὸν ἀμπελουργόν Ἰδοὺ τρία ἔτη ἀφ’ οὗ ἔρχομαι ζητῶν καρπὸν ἐν τῇ συκῇ ταύτῃ καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκω· ἔκκοψον αὐτήν· ἵνα τί καὶ τὴν γῆν καταργεῖ;

 

Luke uniquely had Jesus continue with this parable story of the fig tree.  Jesus said that this fig tree owner spoke to his gardener (εἶπεν δὲ πρὸς τὸν ἀμπελουργόν).  He told him that for 3 years (Ἰδοὺ τρία ἔτη ἀφ’ οὗ), he had come looking for fruit on this fig tree (ἔρχομαι ζητῶν καρπὸν ἐν τῇ συκῇ ταύτῃ).  However, he did not find any (καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκω).  He told the gardener to cut it down (ἔκκοψον αὐτήν) because it was only wasting the soil (ἵνα τί καὶ τὴν γῆν καταργεῖ).  In other words, this fig tree did not have any fruit for 3 years.  Why not get rid of it?  The 3 years may represent the 3 years that Jesus was preaching and teaching with little results.  Have you ever been disappointed for 3 straight years?

Have faith in God (Mk 11:22-11:22)

“Jesus answered them.

He said to them.

‘Have faith

In God!’”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς Ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ.

 

This is somewhat similar to Matthew, chapter 21:21.  However, Mark is more succinct here.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question or Peter’s remark (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) about how the fig tree withered.  He merely said to them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) to have faith in God (Ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ).

Peter remembered the curse (Mk 11:21-11:21)

“Then Peter

Remembered it.

He said

To Jesus.

‘Rabbi!

Look!

The fig tree

That you cursed

Has withered.’”

 

καὶ ἀναμνησθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος λέγει αὐτῷ Ῥαββεί, ἴδε ἡ συκῆ ἣν κατηράσω ἐξήρανται

 

This is a unique saying of Mark.  Peter, as the leader of the 12 apostles, remembered (καὶ ἀναμνησθεὶς ὁ Πέτρος) about what had happened the day before.  He then called Jesus “Rabbi” (λέγει αὐτῷ Ῥαββεί).  He told Jesus to look at the cursed fig tree from the previous day that had already withered (ἴδε ἡ συκῆ ἣν κατηράσω ἐξήραντα).  For Mark, it took a day, but for Matthew, it was immediate.

 

No more eating fruit from this tree (Mk 11:14-11:14)

“Jesus said

To the fig tree.

‘May no one

Ever eat fruit

From you again.’

His disciples heard it.”

 

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῇ Μηκέτι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐκ σοῦ μηδεὶς καρπὸν φάγοι. καὶ ἤκουον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

 

This story about Jesus cursing the fig tree can also be found in Matthew, chapter 21:19.  Jesus spoke to the fig tree as if it were a person, since he used the second person singular talking to the tree.  He responded to the tree (καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς).  He told the tree that no one would be able to eat the fruit from that tree again (εἶπεν αὐτῇ Μηκέτι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐκ σοῦ μηδεὶς καρπὸν φάγοι).  Instead of the instant withering of the tree, as in Matthew, Mark has only the mild comment that his disciples had heard what Jesus had said (καὶ ἤκουον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  There was no discussion of how wonderful it was, as in Matthew.