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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 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

CHAPTER TWELVE:
PROBLEMS IN THE MINISTRY:
OPPONENTS, SIGNS, FAMILY

[“Opposition Inside and Out”]

Matthew 12:1-8 – Something Greater than the Temple

|| Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5

MT12:1 During that period Jesus was moving through the grain fields on the Sabbath.[1] Now his disciples were hungry[2] and began to pluck heads of grain and eat them. MT12:2 But, the Pharisees observed this and said to Jesus, “Look! Your disciples are doing what is not permitted during the Sabbath!”[3] MT12:3 Then Jesus said to them, “Did you not read[4] what David, and those with him, did when he got hungry? MT12:4 How he entered into the House of the God[5] and they ate the loaves of presentation[6] – which he was not authorized to eat, nor those with him, but only the priests? MT12:5 Or, did you not read in the Law regarding Sabbaths that the temple priests profane the Sabbath[7] and remain innocent?[8] MT12:6 But, I tell you: you have something greater than the temple here.[9] MT12:7 You would not have condemned the innocent[10] if you had known what this means,[11] ‘I desire mercy[12] and not sacrifice.’ [Hosea 6:6, 7] MT12:8 For the Son of Humankind is Master of the Sabbath.”[13]

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[1] Sabbath: Literally “sabbaths.” The subject of the Sabbath was a serious conflict with the Jewish clergy. The word occurs 46 times in the Gospels (Matthew, 11; Mark, 11; Luke, 13; John, 11). Two thousand years later it is still an issue even among Christians.

[2] Hungry: Imagine hunger only satisfied by hard grains of wheat or kernels of corn?

[3] Not permitted during the Sabbath: The Law permitted plucking grain (Deuteronomy 23:25). The Jewish version of Sabbath law during the Nazarene’s life was very detailed. There were 39 rules which identified work on the Sabbath, including “reaping.” Later, Maimonides ruled: “To pluck ears is a kind of reaping.”

[4] Did you not read: Compare 1 Samuel 21:1-6.

[5] The House of the God: There are several terms for the Tabernacle of Moses: House, Sanctuary, and Temple. On the later there are two Greek words used: HIERON which generally means the Temple complex; and, NAOS which refers to the shrine or tabernacle proper with its two sacred rooms, the Holy and the Most Holy.

[6] They ate the loaves of presentation: No normal bread was available and the high priest offered the twelve ringed loaves on the table of showbread in the Tabernacle. His only requirement is that only those men who had “kept themselves from women.” David assured the priest they “certainly clean today.” (1 Samuel 21:1-6 NJB) For this kindness 85 priests were slaughtered.

[7] Temple priests profane the Sabbath: That is, the priests perform working functions involved in worship forbidden regular Israelites. The word “profane” is also rendered: KNX: violate; MOF: desecrate; PME: break.

[8] Innocent: Or, KJV: blameless; MOF: not guilty.

[9] Something greater than the temple here: Jesus alludes to himself as the future High Priest as well as his disciples as ‘temple foundation stones.’ (John 2:19; Hebrews 8:1; Ephesians 2:19-22; 1 Peter 2:5) Compare Luke 11:31, 32 for similar language.

[10] The innocent: Surely he means himself and perhaps – like David’s “mighty men” – his own disciples.

[11] This means: The Nazarene quotes Hosea 6:7 from the LXX (where it is 6:6).

[12] Mercy: The Greek is ELEOS and is usually translated mercy, compassion, pity. The problem with the English “mercy” is that it has under gone an evolution so that today it carries the idea of justice: condemnation or judgment withheld. The root of “mercy” is a word from the marketplace (mercado) and is related to that payment to mercenaries. Merci means “thanks.” Kind charity is closer to the idea. So, the verse intends to mean: “I wish charity over (religious) sacrifices.” The quote of Hosea 6:7 is from the Jewish Greek Septuagint (LXX). The Hebrew text reads checed and is rooted in kindness. If one made all the religious sacrifices his worship demanded and failed to be kind or charitable, God’s will is missed.

[13] Master of the Sabbath: There are various opinions. One meaning may be: as Master of the sabbath day, Jesus as Son of Man will determine what is good or bad on the sabbath; or, he will use the sabbath as he determines. Some read the phrase “son of man” to mean “human” so that human needs will determine what is good or bad on the sabbath. Some hold a futurist view: the Messiah is King of that future great Sabbath under his rule – the Thousand Years.

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Preceding

Matthew 11:25-30 Encouragement for John and Reproach for cities 6 Taking Jesus’ Yoke and Becoming Disciples

Seven full weeks or seven completed Sabbaths and ascension of Jesus

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Additional reading

  1. Was Jesus Religious
  2. A new exodus and offering of a Lamb
  3. Do we need to keep the Sabbath
  4. Were allowed to willfully break the Law of Moses
  5. Holy Sabbath
  6. Communion and day of worship
  7. Yom Hey, Eve of Passover and liberation of many people
  8. Shabbat Pesach service reading 1/2
  9. Lord and owner
  10. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #1 Before rain of food from heaven
  11. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #2 Testimony
  12. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #3 Days to be kept holy or set apart
  13. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #4 Jesus and the Sabbath day
  14. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #5 Not law binding
  15. Why we do not keep to a Sabbath or a Sunday or Lord’s Day #6 Sunday or the Lord’s day
  16. Why we do not have our worship-services in a church building
  17. Self inflicted misery #5 A prophet without a hedge around him

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Related

  1. Shabbat Emor: Against the Cruelty
  2. Confronting Systemic Problems – Parshat Va’era 2018
  3. Efficient Rest – Deuteronomy 5:12-14
  4. The Sabbath
  5. Sabbath
  6. Sabbath-Rest
  7. The Sabbath & Sundays?
  8. Read Through the Bible – Day #58 – Luke Chapter 14
  9. Inconsistencies With Lawlessness
  10. Day 95 – The Sabbath is for us
  11. Sacking off the commands of God for what?
  12. Read Through the Bible – Day #50 – Luke Chapter 6

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:1-4 A Wilderness Temptation

Chapter Four:
Three tests and Kingdom preaching

Matthew 4:1-4 – A Wilderness Temptation: ‘If you are a son’

|| Mark 1:12, 13; Luke 4:1-4

MT4:1 Then Jesus was led[1] up into the wilderness by the Pneuma to be tempted[2] by the Devil.[3] MT4:2 After fasting for forty days[4] and forty nights he felt hungry.[5] MT4:3 And the Tempter approached Jesus and said to him, “If you are a son[6] of The God tell these stones[7] to become loaves of bread.”[8] MT4:4 But, Jesus replied and said to the Devil: “It has been written[9] [by Moses]: ‘Not on bread alone will humans live, but upon every utterance[10] coming forth through God’s Mouth.’” [Deuteronomy 8:3]

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Temptation of Jesus in desert. HOLE, WILLIAM: ...

Temptation of Jesus in desert. Hole, William: The Life of Jesus of Nazareth. Eighty Pictures. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The sent one from God after he was baptised went into the desert to meditate. Being alone with his thoughts did not liberate him from bad thoughts coming up in his mind. Jesus was allowed into the wilderness to be tested, like all of us are allowed to be tested and to prove ourselves.

God has given mankind the freedom to think and to take decisions for him self. God is no dictator Who prohibits man to think and to decide for himself. Though we should know that already from the beginning of times man has shown to have a sort of weaknesses, doubting those who are higher placed than they. The first human beings rebelled against the Most High Maker. They took adversary against God. The adversary of God or satan is in each of us and Jesus as a man of flesh and blood had this also in him.

Satan or the the ‘tempter’ brings man to question the relationship with God. He also caught Jesus to be a prey. A young man starting his public life and having to prove himself for the community. Fasting, having hunger, knowing we need our daily bread, the tempter tried to seduce Jesus with the offer of ‘bread’.

We may not forget what is the cause of the temptation  of man, they wondering if God had the right to be their ‘dominant’ or their ‘Father‘. Many do forget that is the whole key to the fall of man. Man not willing to accept God as their Father, Who may tell them what to do.

Satan wants us to believe that we’re not children of God. When the adversary of God tours around us, in our mind, temptation will come in the form to make use doubt the position of the Most High God. Man gets blinded by his own thoughts which try to mislead him.The adverser will use our relationship with God as a weapon against us. He also wants us to believe we do not need God, but that we are able to live on the material of the earth, like bread, and that those goods will keep us alive.

From this chapter we also can see that baptism is no liberator of temptation. When we are baptised it does not mean that we would not any more be tempted or would not sin any more. Be not mistaken, the adversary of God is always there to get us away from God. Even when we are sometimes doubting he will be more at work.

English: Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness

Temptation of Christ in the Wilderness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Perhaps the moments we take time to think about everything and to be just on our own, meditating, are the most dangerous moments to become tempted, doubting ourselves, our own ‘I am‘ and the Most High ‘I Am’ the ‘I Am that I Am‘ or the ‘I Am Who is‘.

Too many people do forget that Jesus could be and was tempted many times. God cannot be tempted, but Jesus as an ordinary man (though specially made by God) was like any man able to sin, but never did sin. Jesus never went against the wishes of God. He could put his own will aside for doing the Will of God.

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[1] Was led: Mark 1:12 says the Spirit “drove” so that Jesus became “driven” into the desert.

[2] Tempted: God cannot be “tempted” (James 1:13,) though Jesus is here, three times.

[3] Devil: The Greek is DIABOLOS. Meaning “Slanderer,” or “Liar,” this name for Satan occurs 36 times, never in the Hebrew Bible and first here. Note that the Dragon is on hand when the “woman gives birth” to a spiritual Son (Revelation 12:4).

[4] Forty days: An experience shared by only two others: Moses and Elijah (Exodus 24:18; 1 Kings 19:8).

[5] Hungry: Jesus becomes hungry several times in the Gospel accounts (Matthew 21:18; Mark 11:12). May it be assumed that God cannot become hungry?

[6] If you are a son: Two things are noticed here: the word “if” is an attempt to create doubt; and, the Devil calls Jesus “a son” knowing full well he is “the Son.”

[7] Stones: These have already been mentioned when John spoke of God’s ability to make sons of Abraham from stones (Matthew 3:9).

[8] Bread: Self-denial was the law of our Lord’s mission (Philippians 2:6-8).

[9] Written: The first Bible verse quoted by Jesus (Deuteronomy 8:3).

[10] Utterance: The Greek is RHEMATI. Or, KJV: word; RHM: declaration; KNX: words.

 

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Preceding articles

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:1-6 – A Wilderness Baptist Prepares the Way

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:7-12 – Opposition and Two Baptisms

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 3:13-17 – Jesus Declared God’s Son at His Baptism

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:15-17 – The Baptisms of the One Coming

Nazarene Commentary Luke 3:21-23 – The Baptism of Christ

2015 the year of ISIS

Next:

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:5-7 – A Temptation to Test God

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:8-11 – A Temptation to Gain World Rule

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:12-17 – Galilee Saw A Great Light

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:18-22 – The Calling of the First Disciples

Nazarene Commentary Matthew 4:23-25 – Kingdom Preaching and Healing Draws Crowds

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Additional reading

  1. To mean, to think, outing your opinion, conviction, belief – Menen, mening, overtuiging, opinie, geloof
  2. Words to inspire and to give wisdom
  3. What we do
  4. The I Am to explore
  5. Just One More Minute
  6. satan or devil
  7. Satan the evil within
  8. The Son can do nothing of his own accord
  9. Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God
  10. Sayings of Jesus, what to believe and being or not of the devil

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Further reading

  1. Jesus is tested – In the wilderness
  2. Temptation in the Desert
  3. The Temptation of Jesus
  4. Dealing With Temptation
  5. But Deliver Us from the Evil One
  6. Watch Over Us
  7. Does God Love Satan? (1 of 2)
  8. The Devil Made Me Do it…
  9. Getting Testy
  10. When we stumble
  11. Love Came Down in Obedience/L’amour est descendu dans l’obéissance
  12. 40 days
  13. 40 days and 40 nights
  14. SMS 144 Matthew 4:2-3
  15. Stones Into Bread
  16. My Life As An Itchy Man
  17. The Camera

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