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Summary: The cursing of the fig tree is given a spiritual application. By faith this tree was destroyed; all things are possible if you Have faith In God.

-Tuesday-

Bethany to Jerusalem

(4) Withered Fig Tree Testifies

(Is. 6:10) Mark 11:19-26 (focal passage), Matthew 21:20-22,

19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.

20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.

26 But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.

The religious leaders hated Jesus for His denunciation of their hypocrisy, but here they began to conspire because of jealousy over His popularity as a teacher.

In the evening ... He went out of the city. Jesus’ practice during the first three days of Passion Week was to not leave Jerusalem until sunset, when the crowds had dispersed and the city gates were about to be closed. For safety’s sake, He would not spend the night in Jerusalem, since his enemies were there. He was not afraid for Himself. We must keep in mind that part of His ministry was to preserve the sheep, that is, His own disciples (John 17:6–19). Furthermore, it would be ludicrous for Him to surrender to His enemies’ wishes before the proper time.

20 Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

On the Tuesday morning of the Passion Week, following the cursing of the fig tree on Monday, the disciples passed it on their way to Jerusalem. It had dried up from the roots (withered away from the roots up). The cursing of the fig tree is recorded in Mark 11:12-14:

12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.

13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.

14 In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.

21 And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “*Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.”

22 So Jesus answered and said to them, “Have faith in God.

Matthew tells that “…when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” (Matthew 21:20). When Peter mentioned the withered fig tree to the Lord, He simply said, “Have faith in God.” But what do these words have to do with the fig tree? The following verses show that Jesus was encouraging faith as the means to remove difficulties. If disciples have faith in God, they can deal with the problem of fruitlessness, and remove mountainous obstacles.

The cursing of the fig tree is given a spiritual application. By faith this tree was destroyed; all things are possible if you Have faith In God.

*Rabbi A title of respect signifying master, teacher, given by the Jews to their doctors and teachers, and often addressed to our Lord.

23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.

When the disciples expressed amazement at the sudden withering of the tree, the Lord told them that they could do greater miracles than this if they had faith. For instance, they could say to a mountain, “Be removed and be cast into the sea,” and it would happen. This expression was related to a common figure of speech of that day, “rooter up the mountains,” which was used in Jewish literature when talking about great rabbis and spiritual leaders who could solve difficult problems and seemingly do the impossible. Obviously, Jesus did not uproot mountains; in fact, He refused to do such spectacular miracles for the unbelieving Jewish leaders. Our Lord was on the Mount of Olives when He uttered these words, and so, He must have been referring to it. The sea was probably the Dead Sea, because it could be seen from the Mount of Olives.

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