posted on Apr, 24 2005 @ 09:27 PM
QUOTE///(Mat. 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14).
Saints Matthew and Mark,
relate that after the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem,
He spent the night with His disciples in Bethany,
In the morning of the next day,
while walking back to Jerusalem,
the Lord noticed a fig tree. While wishing to partake of its fruit,
He couldn’t find any on it although it was covered with leaves,
“Let no fruit grow on you ever again” —
“Immediately the fig tree withered away,”
which amazed the disciples.
The Evangelists speak that the Lord “was hungry” and that’s why He was looking for the fruit.
This is not surprising,
because of the Lord Jesus Christ’s human nature,
He was subject to all human weaknesses,
and was like us in all respects,
After all, He wasn’t only God,
Characteristically, He never used His Divine almighty powers to satisfy His human needs,
but resorted to normal human means,
rejecting once and for all the devil’s temptation to turn stones into bread. With this,
Saint Mark notes that the fig tree didn’t have any fruit because it wasn’t the right time.
Then why did the fig tree was subjected to a curse? — Because it was deceiving and deluding through its appearance.
leaves appear on a fig tree after it had given fruit.
through its lush greenery,
this tree promised fruit to the passerby when in fact it had nothing but leaves.
The Church teaches that the fig tree was a symbol of the representatives and leaders of the Jewish Old Testament Church — high priests,
Scribes and Pharisees,
who wore a facade as fulfillers of God’s Laws,
but in reality bore no fruit.
As punishment for their hypocrisy,
the Lord doomed them to wither,
and as we will see later,
predicted that “the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Mat. 21:43).
After the Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem,
which apparently was on the following day,
some Hellenes approached Apostle Philip and asked him: “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”
Hellenes — in reality meant Greeks,
but in Judea,
all heathens bore that name.
these were so-called “proselytes,” i.e. heathens that have converted to the Jewish faith.
Philip passed on the request to Andrew.
Philip and Andrew were the only Lord’s disciples that bore Greek names. There were quite a few Greeks living in Decapolis,
and as Philip was born in Galilean Bethsaida,
it is quite possible that the Greeks turned specifically to him,
because they knew him.
Their request with “sir” shows that they regarded the disciple of the very famous Teacher with unusual respect.
Their words: “We wish to see Jesus”
is not an indication of idle curiosity, because everybody could see Him as He was walking around the temple courtyard, teaching.
these Hellenes sought to get closer to the Lord,
they wanted to speak with Him.
Bishop Michael construes that,
knowing the Scribes’ and Pharisees’ hatred toward the Lord,
they wanted to propose that He visit their land with sermon,
(just like king Avgar did, according to tradition).
In any case, these words expressed the heathens’ desire to join Christ’s Kingdom that was being revealed.
This was the forerunner of calls to Christ by the whole heathen world — as a result of His cruciferous sufferings and redeeming sacrifice for the
sins of all mankind.
That’s why the request by the Hellenes, forced Christ to immerse His thoughts in the forthcoming sufferings and the profound meaning of His Cross.
This explains why such an inspired narrative flowed from His lips, and which is brought to us by Evangelist John only.
“The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.”
What is that hour?
In relation to Himself — it is the hour of His sufferings on the cross,
death and resurrection; in relation to the prince of the world,
the hour of his banishment; in relation to mankind,
the hour of their invitation to Christ — raised on the cross.
The Lord calls Himself here “Son of Man,” indicating that He will have to bear suffering and death as a man,
in order to enter into His glory as God-Man and through this, attract the whole human race toward Him.
Just as in visible nature, death isn’t always the cause of destruction, but on the contrary, is the beginning of life.
Just as a grain of wheat must die in the ground so as to multiply,
so is the Lord’s death become the beginning of a new life,
which will multiply the followers of His Kingdom on earth.
the Lord’s followers shouldn’t be afraid of death (“loves his life”) but should sacrifice their earthly lives in order to obtain an eternal
the Lord’s human nature is agitated at the thought of the imminent dreadful sufferings: “Now My soul is troubled.”
This was the beginning of the struggle between the human and Divine natures of Christ,
which later attained its utmost tension in the garden of Gethsemane.
The physical nature impels to pray: “Father, save Me from this hour,” but the Divine nature immediately conquers this confusion, compelling to
pray: “Father, glorify Your name,” i.e. “Let the purpose for My coming to earth, be fulfilled.”
In response, God the Father Himself strengthened His Beloved Son for His imminent sufferings,
by thundering from the heavens: “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again,” i.e. “I have already glorified through many works,
signs and miracles,
and will again glorify through the imminent cruciferous sufferings, death and resurrection.”
The effect of the heavenly voice was not the same on all the listeners, which is explained by their different spiritual state.
Those that didn’t believe in Christ, were saying that it was just thunder, while others, that it was the voice of an Angel speaking to Him.
In responding to this erroneous reasoning, the Lord explains that the voice was “for your sake,” i.e. so that they may believe in Him and be
sensible during His last hours on earth,
because the hour of judgment of “the ruler of this world” (devil) is approaching and his banishment from the human soul.
“Ruler of this world” — devil, is referred to in many parts of the Word of God as having mastery over all non-believers and those hostile to
“And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself” i.e. the Lord’s crucifixion and subsequent ascension into Heaven will
lead to the conversion to Christ of the whole human race.
The people understood that “lifted up from the earth” meant that the Lord perceived His death,
and therefore expressed their bewilderment as to who would rule on earth, as their understanding of the Messiah was that of an earthly ruler,
who would reign on earth forever.
the Lord exhorted them that while He is still among them,
to utilize their time by believing in Him — the Light to the whole world.
Then in leaving them, He apparently went to the Mount of Olives or Bethany, where He spent the night — teaching in the temple during the day.
Further on, the Evangelist reflects with sadness on the reasons for the Jews’ disbelief in the Lord, pointing to the fact that it was foretold by
the Prophet Isaiah (53:1 and 6:9-10), as the chosen peoples’ hardness of heart.
The cause for hostility toward the Lord, is also their preference for human acclaim to God’s glory.
In conclusion, Saint John cites the Lord’s last admonitory words, uttered to the Jews in the temple,
that He came to save the world
and His Word will judge people on the final day,
because this Word is non other than commandments to mankind from the Heavenly Father Himself......
In Christ helen......