You Mad, Bro?

DISCLAIMER: This blog post was written in good fun. It does not reflect the views of anyone associated with this blog in anyway. In addition, it may contain some adult content and/or biblical mockery that may offend some people. If you are one of those people, read on at your own risk or don’t read on at all. Your choice. We all have choices and I choose to not take everything so seriously just as you, the reader, may choose to skip my Thursday blog posts. I am neither a heathen nor an atheist. As a matter of fact, I was raised in the Catholic Church and attended Catholic School for a number of years. Again, this is all in good fun – and laughing makes us all live a little longer. So if you’re ready to turn that frown upside down, read on.

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There’s a Bible story that was brought to attention and it left me scratching my head. I just don’t get it. It doesn’t move the “story” along. It certainly doesn’t make me sympathize with the main character. As a matter of fact, if anything, it kinda makes me think that even Jesus, the infallible almighty, suffers, on occasion, from PMS.

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Before you get your panties in a twist, hear me out: This story is found in both Matthew (21:19) and Mark (11:13-14).

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Basically, Jesus was walking back to the city after sleeping off his holy miracles when he found himself a bit peckish. Coming upon a fig tree he decided he had himself a hankering for some figs. (Who doesn’t crave the occasional fig? Really?) Unfortunately the fig tree had no fruit to offer. I can only imagine the conversation went like this:

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Jesus: Hey! Fig Tree! Gimme a fig.

Fig Tree: ……….

Jesus: Hey! You listenin’? I said, gimme a fig.

Fig Tree: ……….

Jesus: For real? Do you know who I am? I’m gonna give you to the count of three to gimme a fig and if you don’t, you’re gonna be sorry.

(It must be said that his posse of  disciples were there too. A classic case of school-yard bullying.)

Fig Tree: ……….

(At this point JC is starting to steam.)

Disciples: images-2

Jesus: One. Two. Two and a half. images-4

 

Fig Tree: ……….

Jesus: Three. You asked for it! (It was then that Jesus cursed the poor fig tree.)

Disciples: images-3

(Matthew 21:19 And seeing a certain fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only, and he saith to it: May no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.)

Now, I know I can get a bit manic when I’m hungry. Sometimes I’m not myself. But damn! I’ve never killed for my food. Maybe I’m sheltered. Now not only did Jesus kill the poor tree  – the Bible didn’t say what season it was and I can only assume it was fig tree fruit bearing season – his homeboys laughed and “marveled” at the sight!

(Matthew 21:20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!)

Like I said, school-yard bullies. After reading this, I’m confused as to how I’m supposed to feel about our boy JC. And yes I get that the barren tree was a metaphor for the barren faith many carried. Yeah. Yeah. Yadda, yadda, yadda…. The point is that this story does nothing to move the story of Jesus along. It highlights his abuse of power. But it’s so important, it’s repeated in with Mark’s take on the story. But even he says it wasn’t fruit bearing time –  Mark 11:13 And when he had seen afar off a fig tree having leaves, he came if perhaps he might find any thing on it. And when he was come to it, he found nothing but leaves. For it was not the time for figs.

I can really find no reason for this story. And that brings me to my question: when writing, or reading, have you found yourself adding useless information to the story just for the sake of having something to say even if it A. doesn’t move the story along or B. removes the element of sympathy for the MC?

My take on the moral of this incident? Don’t piss off Jesus.

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~Christine

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About Christine Hughes

A few things about me in no particular order: 1. I love the NY Jets (I know, I know...) 2. I love where I live. An hour to NY, Philly and the Jersey shore. 3. I have two boys and they make me laugh hard enough to blow liquids out of my nose. The hubs is funny enough to make me pee my pants. Not that it's ever happened. Of course not. 4. Being a writer is the best job on the planet, and not just because I can wear jammies to work, drink coffee by the gallonful, randomly catch up on my DVR'd shows, troll YouTube, flip on E! News and browse iTunes - all in the name of research. 5. I have some of the best friends in the world - they put up with my inappropriate jokes, foul mouth, strange musings and don't judge me if I drink too much wine on a Tuesday. Just sayin' - a girl needs her friends. 6. Represented by the most fabulous Michelle Johnson of Inklings Literary Agency. I fell into it with her - she is perfectly amazeballs. LOVE!

Posted on April 4, 2013, in Bizarro Bible Stories and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. Wow I don’t remember this story but then again, I’m not really up on biblical stories. Like you, I think this story was needless & doesn’t exactly show our lord & savior in the most positive light! Ol’ JC must’ve been cranky that day. Why didn’t he bless the tree & have it hear fruit, like when he multiplied the fish & bread? (That story, I do know well) I guess this was to show his power, but I still feel like, why you gotta kill the tree??

  2. Oh man I wrote this long comment – where did it go? Basically, i said I’m not really up on my biblical lore but I don’t remember the story of the poor fig tree. I, too, feel like it’s not needed. Seems Ol’ JC was a but cranky that day. I wonder why he didn’t bless the tree & have it bear fruit, like when he multiplied the bread & fish. That story, I know well. But this one seems like it’s thrown in to show his power. And to not piss off Jesus. “Yo you better have what I want when I want it or you’ll get dealt w/” (all in good fun. Please nobody curse me)

  3. Well now see, I am not from Texas but here in SA I think we have that good ole boy attitude with the larger than life egos… so. I aint pissing of the big Man’s son. If he wants ta kill a tree, go for it. I think it is supposed to be read with …. if you have the ability, talent etc which means —- you guessed it —– DUCK!

  4. I gotta think there’s a culturally appropriate spin on this that would make sense, but your interpretation is more fun.
    😉
    And yes, I’m sure there are scenes I’ve created that were equally puzzling to anyone not residing in my head!

  5. Great post! I love batting things like this around. (call me crazy…but..well..yeah)

    There is, of course, an explanation. And, it doesn’t come off as “making up excuses.” 🙂 I’m under the gun getting ready to leave for an auto race I’m competing in this weekend. Let me know if you would like a post on it and I’ll check back tonight.

    Keep up the good work. Cheers,

    JM

  6. This blog is the best. I’m busy, but I have to read every word. Perhaps the story is to show the humanity of Jesus. We always focus on his Godly side, rarely the human side. Jesus got mad and it’s okay.

  7. If you are moderating and this seems to “explanatory” please feel free to nix it. 🙂 No harm, no foul.

    First off, let me be clear, I enjoy it when Jesus doesn’t act all Jesus-y. I’ll take my Jesus kickin’ over tables in the Temple courtyard and withering trees, thank you very much. Give me a Jesus with muscles (he was a carpenter after all) who points at the disciples and says, “I’ll be back!” When he steps out of “character,” it reminds us that there was a humanity to him as well. I’m glad someone pointed that out.

    So, here’s skinny on this one. The first bud on fig trees in the region were/are fruit, the leaves follow. So if it had leaves, the theory holds that there should have been fruit. Somehow, this one leafed up out of season. But, this still leaves us wondering, “Why so mad, bro?”

    That’s where the back story comes in. He’d been to Jerusalem, the people got all wild and crazy, glad to see him, most of them were Israelites. Now we get to the cool part (I think so at least). Throughout the Bible, the nation of Israel had been compared to…drum roll please…a fig tree. The disciples with Jesus knew this (or should have, they were pretty dense at times.)

    He sees the fig tree. All green and leafy…looking like it has fruit. Just like the Israelites, all happy to see him, waving branches and stuff. Looking like the were gonna be fruitful. But the non-human part of him knew that in a very short time, those same crouds would be yelling for his death. He withers the tree, showing that though he came first to the Israelites, that time had passed. Now he would be a “y’all come” kinda guy. Like I said, the disciples were a bit slow on the uptake and big examples worked best.

    • I get all that. I understand the metaphorical reasoning behind the fig tree. I think I mentioned that in the post. I appreciate your knowledge on the subject – it tempers well with my goofy take on it. “Why you mad, bro?” takes the metaphorical away and looks at it from a literal standpoint.

  8. I got so caught up in the fun, I didn’t answer your proposed question. Extra stuff that doesn’t move the story along. 🙂

    In my first book, I am the poster child for it. My draft weighed in at 129,000 words, the final version is 93,000. Still largish, but fantasy tends to be that way. At first every word cut was painful, but eventually I was tossing whole sections like a mom clearing her kid’s closet.

    Thanks again for the entertaining blog!

  9. Remember, in Mark Jesus was the most human in his outlook and reactions. He had emotions. Doubters could affect his miracles.

    I’m still not sure why the fig tree incident got included though.

    • I enjoy the stories more when Jesus is depicted with human traits and characteristics. It’s more believable to me.

      • I won’t argue that at all. But I also don’t understand how Jesus can be claimed as human when in the other Gospels he never reacts as a human.

        As for the fig tree as a metaphor for Isreal, that places the text in the history of Christianity during the faith’s export to the Gentiles, perhaps as part of the justification.

        Then again, I cannot understand a literal understanding of a collection of texts whose son always taught in parable. If God only spoke literally, who taught his son metaphor? and that’s not going into the contradictory portions that render literal understanding impossible.

        Up next, maybe you should cover Jesus disowning his mother in Mark. I always get a kick out of that passage.

      • I’ll take a look at that one. Sounds interesting. As for the relationship between the literal and metaphorical, I don’t have an answer for that. The whole thing is written as a giant book of parables. I mean, when God flooded the earth, he was pretty straightforward in his reasoning.

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