Jesus withers the Fig Tree
BIBLE REFERENCE : Matthew 21:18-22 , Mark 11:12-14

The enacted parable of the Fig Tree comes in two parts, framing the "cleansing of the Temple".
In verses 12-14, of Mark, Jesus is hungry and finds no fruit on the tree, so curses it.
In verses 20-21, the fig tree has withered away.

The significant point is that, at time of year, fig trees do not bear fruit,
just as the dead do not come to life, nor are blind men suddenly able to see.
Mark is signalling that this section of his story should not be taken literally.
It is a parable; a story with a meaning rather than a historical record.

It points us to the conflict in the Temple as bearing a message.
It reflects the same message as the Parable of the Fig Tree at Lk 13:6-9

First Jesus breaks up the commercial activities,
not because they were commercial but because they exploited the people.
No doubt the stall-holders had to pay high rentals, so had to increase prices,
but what should have been a house of prayer had become a den of robbers;
a place in which the exploiters of the people had taken refuge.

It was the center of a religious organisation feeding off the flock,
when it should have been feeding and protecting them from the wolves
in the form of the occupying Roman army and its supporters.

We need to wonder whether the church needs to rethink its role today.
Should it focus on the message of Micah, Amos and Jesus, rather than of Paul and Augustine?
Should be centred on protecting the poor and vulnerable, rather than on personal salvation?

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