The withered fig tree (Mk 11:20-11:20)

“In the morning,

As they passed by,

They saw

The fig tree

Withered away

To its roots.”

 

Καὶ παραπορευόμενοι πρωῒ εἶδον τὴν συκῆν ἐξηραμμένην ἐκ ῥιζῶν.

 

This incident about the withered fig tree continued here, where it was a complete whole in Matthew, chapter 21:18-20.  Here in Mark, it was the next day after the curse when they were passing by it in the morning (Καὶ παραπορευόμενοι πρωῒ).  Then they saw the withered or dried up fig tree, even its roots (εἶδον τὴν συκῆν ἐξηραμμένην ἐκ ῥιζῶν).  Rather than immediately the same day, as in Matthew, the result was the same.  The fig tree was dead.

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The need for faith (Mt 21:21-21:22)

“Jesus answered them.

‘Truly!

I say to you!

If you have faith,

If you do not doubt,

Not only will you do

What has been done

To the fig tree,

But even if you say

To this mountain.

‘Be lifted up!

Be thrown into the sea!’

It will be done.

Whatever you ask for

In prayer,

With faith,

You will receive.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε, οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε, ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε Ἄρθητι καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, γενήσεται·

καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες λήμψεσθε.

 

This Jesus saying about faith can be found in Mark, chapter 11:20-24, word for word, but it was the next day after the curse, not the same day.  Jesus answered the disciple’s question (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) about how the fig tree withered with a solemn pronouncement (Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν) about the importance of faith.  If they had faith (ἐὰν ἔχητε πίστιν) and did not doubt (καὶ μὴ διακριθῆτε), they too would be able to effectively curse a fig tree (οὐ μόνον τὸ τῆς συκῆς ποιήσετε).  Not only that, but if they had faith, they could move mountains.  They could tell a mountain (ἀλλὰ κἂν τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ εἴπητε) to be lifted up or taken away (Ἄρθητι) and thrown into the sea (καὶ βλήθητι εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν), and it would happen (γενήσεται).  Whatever they asked for in believing prayer (καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἂν αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ πιστεύοντες), they would receive it (λήμψεσθε).  The essential ingredient of effective prayer was faith.

The curse (Mal 2:2-2:3)

“Says Yahweh of hosts.

‘If you will not listen,

If you will not lay it to heart

To give glory

To my name,

Then I will send

The curse

On you.

I will curse your blessings.

Indeed,

I have already cursed them.

Because you do not lay it to heart.

I will rebuke your offspring.

I will spread dung

On your faces,

The dung of your offerings.

I will put you

Out of my presence.’”

Yahweh, via Malachi, said that if they did not listen and take to heart his words by giving glory to Yahweh’s name, he was going to send a curse on them.  In fact, he had already cursed their blessings.  They had not taken their worship of Yahweh to heart.  Thus, they would have the dung of their offerings spread out over their faces.  He was going to put them and their offspring out of his presence.

We have not followed the law (Dan 9:9-9:11)

“To the Lord!

Our God!

Belong mercy!

Belong forgiveness!

We have rebelled

Against him.

We have not obeyed

The voice of Yahweh,

Our God,

By following his laws,

That he set

Before us,

By his servants,

The prophets.

All Israel

Has transgressed

Your law.

They have turned aside

From it.

They refuse

To obey your voice.

Thus,

The curse,

With the oath written

In the law of Moses,

The servant of God,

Has been poured out

Upon us,

Because we have sinned

Against you.”

Daniel asked his Lord God to bring mercy and forgiveness because they had rebelled against him. They had not obeyed the voice of Yahweh, their God. They had not followed his laws that he set before them, through his servant prophets. All Israel had transgressed God’s law, because they turned away from it. They had refused to obey God’s voice. Thus, they ended up with the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God. This curse was poured out on them, because they had sinned against God.