Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jesus looks for figs out of season, finds none, then angrily forbids the eating of figs forever.

And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

Mark 11:12-14

Matthew ramps up the fig-hate to miracle status. In his version, Jesus curses the fig tree with shocking results...

This passage bears a suspiciously close resemblance to Mark 11:12-14, but this time when Jesus can't find figs on a tree out of season, he uses his Godly miracle working powers to.... make the tree fruit?   No.   Theologians have struggled and contorted logic over the years to try to explain why this story is not just one of uninformed omnipotent rage.

Generally it is claimed that the tree is a symbol.  Very convenient, but the scriptural story gives no indication whatsoever that this is metaphorical.   It appears to be a literal story of an angry and spiteful messiah who doesn't know when figs are supposed to be in fruit.   (Why would an all knowing messiah look for figs out of season anyway, wouldn't he know the proper season for each fruit?  Just asking.)

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.  And presently the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 

Matthew 21: 18-20