Here Jesus provides an acted parable for his disciples, symbolizing another prophetic act of judgment. Matthew's audience, probably native to Syro-Palestine, are likely aware of what Mark states explicitly: it was not yet the season for figs (Mk 11:13). At Passover season in late March or early April, fig trees are often in leaf on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. At this time of year the trees contain only green figs (Arabs call them taqsh); they ripen around June but often fall off before that time, leaving only leaves on the tree. Because of their unpalatable taste, these early figs rarely were eaten; but someone too hungry to care about taste would eat them anyway, as some do today. A leafy tree lacking early figs, however, would bear no figs at all that year (F. Bruce 1980:73-74; Witherington 1990:173).
Although Matthew retains Mark's emphasis from the context-judgment on the temple (compare fruitless trees in 3:10; 12:44-45; compare also 24:32; Jer 24)-his arrangement of the material lays primary stress on Jesus' lesson of faith. "Moving mountains" was a Jewish metaphor for accomplishing what was difficult or virtually impossible (as in ARN 6A; 12, 29B). Like the prophets of old, Jesus' disciples could do whatever God called them to do (compare 7:7-11; 10:8; 17:20). Faith, of course, implies obedience to God's wishes, not simply acting on our own. Given the surrounding context of conflict, Jesus' model of faith includes facing death bravely in obedience to God's call-and trusting his power over death itself.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
For the best Bible Gateway experience, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus. For less than the cost of a latte each month, you'll gain access to a vast digital Bible study library and reduced banner ads to minimize distractions from God's Word. Try it free for 30 days!