A prophet acting out a parable: Why did Jesus choose to curse a fig tree?

GetReligion | 1/11/2018 | Richard Ostling
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What is the significance of Jesus cursing the fig tree?



Our discussion will focus on the Gospel of Mark (11:12-14 and 20-26) rather than the briefer parallel version in Matthew (21:18-22), which most experts think was written down later. Mark records the following:

Bishop - NT - Wright - Gospels - View

Scholarly British Bishop N.T. Wright says this narrative “looks most peculiar,” and it’s “one of the most difficult in the Gospels” in the view of D.E. Nineham at the University of London. That’s because, as Hugh Anderson of the University of Edinburgh observed, the cursing of the fig tree was Jesus’ only reported miracle of “destruction” rather than restoration, so at first glance it seems “out of character” if not “irrational.”

Interpreters see significance in Mark’s literary “sandwich” with the temple assault enclosed within two halves of the fig tree account. It’s important to realize that the fig tree is a symbol for the Israelite nation in many Old Testament passages, an apt poetic device due to this fruit’s importance for the regional diet.

Jesus - Hunger - Tree

Jesus was not angry over his hunger, and certainly not angry at a tree.

Rather, scholars tell us, he was filling the role of a Jewish prophet like many before him. Thus, he was proclaiming judgment against the Jewish leadership and anticipating the destruction of the temple and all of Jerusalem, which in fact Roman troops were to carry out in A.D. 70. Jesus was also warning his followers...
(Excerpt) Read more at: GetReligion
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