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Matthew 21:20

And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Now in order to convey this truth the Lord acted prophetically. By this I mean that in reference to the fig tree, it was not his will merely to exhibit a miracle but rather through this sign to convey an intimation of that which was to come. He often taught and persuaded us by such means. So even when our wills resist, he persuades us and brings us to faith. We first ask how was it the tree’s fault that it had no fruit? Even if it had no fruit in its proper season, its season of mature fruit, still the tree would bear no fault. For the tree is without sense and reason, so it could not be blamed. But to this perplexity is added another, which we read in the narrative of the other Evangelist who expressly mentions this: “It was not the time for that fruit.” For this was the time when the fig tree was just shooting forth its tender leaves, which come, as we know, long before the fruit. This sequence has a spiritual meaning. The time for fruit was soon coming with the day of the Lord’s Pas...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The disciples This surprise of the disciples, at the sudden withering of the fig-tree, happened the following morning. See Mark xi. 20.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Whence it is manifest that this belongs to the suspicion of His disciples, who were yet in a somewhat imperfect state. For indeed the evangelists in many places record the suspicions of the disciples. Like as this then was their suspicion, so also was it too to suppose it was cursed for this cause, because of having no fruit. Wherefore then was it cursed? For the disciples' sakes, that they might have confidence. For because everywhere He conferred benefits, but punished no man; and it was needful that He should afford them a demonstrative proof of His power to take vengeance also, that both the disciples might learn, and the Jews, that being able to blast them that crucify Him, of His own will He submits, and does not blast them; and it was not His will to show forth this upon men; upon the plant did He furnish the proof of His might in taking vengeance. But when unto places, or unto plants, or unto brutes, any such thing as this is done, be not curious, neither say, how was the fi...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
Of the many miracles which the Lord performed, all were done to do good, for He performed no miracles of chastisement. Therefore, lest anyone think that He is unable to chastise, here He shows this power as well, not applied to men but to a tree, as He loves mankind. He also did the same on a previous occasion to the swine. He withers the tree, then, in order to chasten men. The disciples marvel, and with good reason. For the fig tree contains a great amount of sap, and so the fact that it withered immediately serves all the more to indicate the miracle. The fig tree means the synagogue of the Jews, which has only leaves, that is, the visible letter of the law, but not the fruit of the Spirit. But also every man who gives himself over to the sweetness of the present life is likened to a fig tree, who has no spiritual fruit to give to Jesus who is hungry for such fruit, but only leaves, that is, temporal appearances which fall away and are gone. This man, then, hears himself cursed. For...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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