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Matthew 21:18-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Cursed Fig Tree a Lesson in Faith

Matthew 21:18-22 – A Cursed Fig Tree a Lesson in Faith

|| Mark 11:12-14, 20-24

MT21:18 Early in the morning when they were returning to Jerusalem Jesus felt hungry.[1] MT21:19 When he saw a fig tree he went to pick some figs but he found only leaves.[2] Jesus spoke to the fig tree, saying, “No longer will you bear any fruitage[3] to the eon.”[4] And the fig tree withered instantly. MT21:20 Now when the disciples saw this they wondered, asking, “How did the fig tree whither instantly?” MT21:21 But Jesus answered them: “I tell you this truth: If you [disciples][5] have faith and never doubt,[6] you not only can do the same to a fig tree, but also you could tell this mountain, ‘Rise and plunge into the sea!’ – and it will occur. MT21:22 Indeed, everything, anything you request[7] in a prayer of faith – you [disciples] will receive it.”

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[1] Jesus felt hungry: Something God cannot feel for then He would lack and depend on something else. Though this is the motive given for what follows we suspect something deeper: an object lesson for his disciples. We wonder the reason Matthew includes this and omits the resurrection of Lazarus.

[2] He found only leaves: Mark 11:13 adds, “… for it was not the season of figs.” It is early spring (Passover). We might wonder if Jesus were God he would not have to approach the tree to see if there were figs. A larger lesson is going on.

[3] No longer will you bear any fruitage: Or, RIEU: may you be barren; NEB: you will never bear fruit any more.

[4] To the eon: The Greek is EIS TON AIONA and though some translate this “forever” it would seem Jesus meant for the rest of the life of the tree. See NEB.

[5] If you [disciples]: The Greek is plural and so this is directed to the apostles.

[6] Have faith and never doubt: See the notes on Matthew 17:20. The lesson is faith. We note Jesus does not perform a miracle to produce figs so ease his hunger.

[7] Everything, anything you request: We do not suspect the apostles thought this was a frivolous request but something like a “mountain” related to their commission from their Lord. From a historical retrospective the idea that an unknown carpenter from Nazareth could create such an affect upon mankind would be much larger than any mountain. Throughout his ministry one of the Nazarene’s goals must have been the building of faith among his disciples. They would need a world-changing faith to accomplish the work before them and endure centuries of Holocaust.

 

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Preceding

Matthew 21:1-3 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Sent Ahead for a Donkey

Matthew 21:4-5 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Your King Is Coming upon a Donkey

Matthew 21:6-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Blessed the One Coming in God’s Name!

Matthew 21:10-11 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Who Is This?

Matthew 21:12-14 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Temple Cleansed

Matthew 21:12-14 – From a den of thieves to a house of prayer

Matthew 21:15-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Out of the Mouth of Babes

 

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Further related

  1. Mustard Seed Meditation
  2. Will America join the graveyard of nations?
  3. Matthew 21:22
  4. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer
  5. Faith
  6. Immediate AnswerToday’s Word With Joel & Victoria Osteen – Positioned To ReceivePowerful Generator
  7. Prayer for Restoring Health

Matthew 19:13-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Kingdom Belongs to Child-like

Matthew 19:13-15 – Kingdom Belongs to Child-like

|| Mark 10:13-16; Luke 9:47; 18:15-17

MT19:13 Then little boys[1] were brought to Jesus so that he might pray and lay his hands upon them.[2] But, the disciples rebuked [the parents].[3] MT19:14 However, Jesus told the disciples, “Leave the little boys alone and do not try to hinder them from approaching me – the Realm of Heaven is for such [like] these.”[4] MT19:15 Then after Jesus laid his hands upon the little boys he departed.

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[1] Little boys: The Greek is PAIDIA. Our imagination is captured by the wide shining eyes fill with wonderment at the man from Nazareth. Do we behold warm endearing smiles on our Lord’s face?

[2] Pray and lay his hands upon them: Or, BAS: put his hands on them in blessing. Surely the parents expected a blessing so that these little boys may become serious teachers of the Law? The gesture of “laying hands upon” is elsewhere in the Bible something of an official appointment. Research hands or laying on of hands.

[3] Disciples rebuked [the parents]: Or, NEB: the disciples scolded them; BER: the disciples held them back; MON: disciples interfered; TCNT: found fault with those who had brought them; NOR: spoke sharply to them; PME: frowned on the parents’ action. We feel for the disciples in their protectiveness. In their determination that their Lord’s time be spent wisely. He was just too busy for this sort of thing. They do not realize that these little boys are the future leaders and teachers of the nation of Israel. Modern elders can learn much from this: share your time with those without a vote or voice. A few minutes here and there may influence a young one beyond your imagination. We can identify a Christ-like elder by the time he spends with children, the sick and the elderly.

[4] The Realm of Heaven is for such [like] these: Or, KJV: for of such is the kingdom of heaven; ASV: for to such belongeth the kingdom; MON: for it is to the childlike that the kingdom of heaven belongs. See notes on Matthew 18:13. The self-centered and arrogant need not apply for membership in the Kingdom.

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Preceding

Matthew 19:1-2 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: From Galilee to Judah

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce

Matthew 19:3-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Grounds for Divorce – additional verses

Matthew 19:10-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Celibacy

Calvin’s view on taking up the cross

24. Then Jesus said to his disciples.

As Christ saw that Peter had a dread of the cross, and that all the rest were affected in the same way, he enters into a general discourse about bearing the cross, and does not limit his address to the twelve apostles, but lays down the same law for all the godly. {1 } We have already met with a statement nearly similar, (#Mt 10:38). {2 } But in that passage the apostles were only reminded of the persecution which awaited them, as soon as they should begin to discharge their office; while a general instruction is here conveyed, and the initiatory lessons, so to speak, inculcated on all who profess to believe the Gospel.

If any man will come after me.

These words are used for the express purpose of refuting the false views of Peter {3 } Presenting himself to every one as an example of self-denial and of patience, he first shows that it was necessary for him to endure what Peter reckoned to be inconsistent with his character, and next invites every member of his body to imitate him. The words must be explained in this manner:

“If any man would be my disciple, let him follow me by denying himself and taking up his cross, or, let him conform himself to my example.”

The meaning is, that none can be reckoned to be the disciples of Christ unless they are true imitators of him, and are willing to pursue the same course.

He lays down a brief rule for our imitation, in order to make us acquainted with the chief points in which he wishes us to resemble him. It consists of two parts, self-denial and a voluntary bearing of the cross. Let him deny himself. This self-denial is very extensive, and implies that we ought to give up our natural inclinations, and part with all the affections of the flesh, and thus give our consent to be reduced to nothing, provided that God lives and reigns in us. We know with what blind love men naturally regard themselves, how much they are devoted to themselves, how highly they estimate themselves. But if we desire to enter into the school of Christ, we must begin with that folly to which Paul (#1Co 3:18) exhorts us, becoming fools, that we may be wise; and next we must control and subdue all our affections.

And let him take up his cross. He lays down this injunction, because, though there are common miseries to which the life of men is indiscriminately subjected, yet as God trains his people in a peculiar manner, in order that they may be conformed to the image of his Son, we need not wonder that this rule is strictly addressed to them. It may be added that, though God lays both on good and bad men the burden of the cross, yet unless they willingly bend their shoulders to it, they are not said to bear the cross; for a wild and refractory horse cannot be said to admit his rider, though he carries him. The patience of the saints, therefore, consists in bearing willingly the cross which has been laid on them. {4 } Luke adds the word daily  —  let him take up his cross Daily  —  which is very emphatic; for Christ’s meaning is, that there will be no end to our warfare till we leave the world. Let it be the uninterrupted exercise of the godly, that when many afflictions have run their course, they may be prepared to endure fresh afflictions.

– John Calvin

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Preceding

Matthew 10:24-31 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Do Not Fear – Preach!

Matthew 10:32-39 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: I Came to Cause Division

Matthew 12:46-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Family of Messiah

Matthew 16 Asking for signs from heaven

Matthew 16 Calvin’s view

Matthew 16 Spurgeon’s view

Matthew 16:1-4 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The Signs of the Times

Matthew 16:5-12 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Watch Out for the Leaven of False Teaching

Matthew 16:13-20 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Building a Hades-Proof Congregation

Matthew 16:21-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Think God’s Thoughts

Matthew 16:24-28 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: A Disciple Must Disown Self

Demanding signs or denying yourself

To follow Christ

Every one who would be Jesus his follower must sacrifice himself

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Additional reading

  1. Looking for True Spirituality 1 Intro
  2. To find ways of Godly understanding
  3. A great man does not lose his self-possession when he is afflicted
  4. The blessing of a broken leg

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Related

  1. The Unvarnished Truth Matthew 10:34-39
  2. Self Denial, and the Road to Greatness
  3. Growing in fortitude
  4. What Would Jesus Do
  5. Self-Denial — Is it a requirement of following Jesus the Messiah?
  6. Denying ourselves – the key to true and lasting joy!
  7. The Discipline of Self-Denial

Matthew 13:51-52 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Teacher Uses New and Old

Matthew 13:51-52 – Teacher Uses New and Old

MT13:51 “Did you [disciples] understand everything?”[1] [The Disciples] answered, “Yes.” MT13:52 So Jesus told them, “Therefore, every teacher[2] who has become a student[3] of the Realm of Heaven can be compared to a person, like a householder,[4] who throws out[5] of his treasure-chest[6] new things and old things.”[7]

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[1] Understand everything: Or, KNX: have you grasped all this; NWT: comprehend.

Jean Miélot, a European author and scribe at work

[2] Teacher: The Greek is GRAMMATEUS and is generally rendered “scribe” though some rendered it: TCNT: Teacher; PME: every one who knows the Law. The scribe was considered a teacher as well as a student sometimes. Search the word scribe or scribes.

[3] Become a student: The Greek is MATHETEUTHEIS. Or, TCNT: received instruction; PME: becomes a disciple; NEB: a learner. The perfect teacher is one who is also a life-long student.

[4] Householder: Or, KNX: rich man; NOR: master of a house. See notes on Matthew 13:27.

[5] Throws out: The Greek is BALOUSIN and is also rendered: NJB: brings out. But, there seems more enthusiasm in the word.

[6] His treasure-chest: The treasure are his own goods, the things he has saved. Jesus has used the word “treasure” in relation to the heart. See the notes on treasure at Matthew 6:21 and Matthew 12:35. As a student or learner (a disciple of Christ) each of these apostles has had truths stored up from the Jewish religion – laws, principles, doctrines, prophecies. Now each ones has new truths and news ways of expressing these from the Master teacher, Jesus.

[7] New things and old things: The New Jerusalem Bible footnote here reads: “The Jewish teacher who becomes a disciple of Christ has at his disposal all the wealth of the Old Testament as well as its completion in the New.” William Barclay writes: “There is something suggestive here. For it means that Jesus never desired or intended that any man [or, woman – editor] should forget all he knew when he came to him; but that he should see his knowledge in a new light and use it in a new service.” (Page 90) No person embarking on discipleship to the Nazarene can refuse to “throw out” in personal witnessing to others truths old and new.

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Preceding

Matthew 2:1-6 – Astrologers and Priests in a Satanic Plot

Matthew 7:13-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: The True Disciple #5 Matthew 7:28-29 – The Crowd’s Reaction

Matthew 8:18-22 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Two Would-be Followers

Matthew 12:38-42 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Signs in Jonah and the Queen of the South

Matthew 13 – Parables on Kingdom mysteries

Matthew 13:1-9 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable: the Soil and the Seed

Matthew 13:10-15 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Why Speak in Parables?

Matthew 13:16-17 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Happy Eyes and Ears

Matthew 13:18-23 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Seed and Soil

Matthew 13:24-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Field and the Harvest

Matthew 13:31-32 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Mustard Seed

Matthew 13:33 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Fermented Whole

Matthew 13:34-35 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Manner of Teaching Foretold

Matthew 13:36-43 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Zizania in the Field Explained

Matthew 13:44 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Treasure

Matthew 13:45-46 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Valuable Pearl

Matthew 13:47-50 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Parable of the Dragnet

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Additional reading

  1. Priest, scribes and others with authority
  2. Looking for True Spirituality 4 Getting to Know the Mind of Christ

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Related

  1. Ic eom Bocere….scribe: translation of scribe in Portuguese
  2. scribe: translation of scribe in Spanish
  3. #Scribe (Helping Visually Challenged in writing exams)- Srikanth, Deepa & Team
  4. ScribesFocus on Scribes
  5. We should all be writing
  6. How to Decode an Ancient Roman’s Handwriting
  7. In search of the last word
  8. Building the Library
  9. A Mouthpiece for Jesus
  10. #Scribelife
  11. A Scribe’s Life (1): William of Malmesbury
  12. A Scribe’s Life (2): John of Worcester
  13. Jesus asks the Pharisees a question (Mt 22:41-22:41)
  14. The summon of praying scribes
  15. The Danger in Disciple Making
  16. Today’s Scripture – May 1, 2018
  17. Whitened Tombs
  18. The Disciples Understood
  19. Don’t Be Leafy, Be Fruitful

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