ABC:Mark 11

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Verse 20

TheThinkingAtheist.com claims the Bible is wrong about the following passage, and makes the following comments (italicized) in the section "Did the Fig Tree That Jesus Cursed Wither Immediately or Overnight?"[1]

Matthew 21:19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

It happened immediately, and the disciples were amazed.


Mark 11:20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.

The dried up fig tree was discovered the following morning.

Actually both chapters say that the dried up fig tree was discovered the following morning and that the disciples were amazed. Matthew 21 just doesn't mention the original cursing, but only mentions Peter's recollection of it, while Mark mentions both.

Mark 11:11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. ¶ And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.

Mark 11:20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.

Matthew 21:17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
18 ¶ Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
19 And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
20 And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!

Sequence of Events

As observed by CARM, the order of events is identical.[2]

  1. Jesus is travelling between Bethany and Jerusalem. (Matthew 21:10-11, Mark 11:11)
  2. Jesus while coming from Bethany curses the fig tree. (Mark 11:11-14).
  3. Jesus violently kicks the salesmen out of Jerusalem's temple. (Matthew 21:12-14, Mark 11:15-17)
  4. Worried Pharisees express displeasure with Jesus' actions. (Matthew 21:15-16, Mark 11:18)
  5. Jesus leaves Jerusalem in the evening to lodge in Bethany, presumably for the cheap hotels. (Matthew 21:17, Mark 11:19)
  6. Peter reminds everyone about the fig tree that Jesus cursed earlier, and the disciples marvel that it has withered away. (Matthew 21:18-20, Mark 11:20-21)

The only difference is that Matthew does not mention Jesus' original cursing of the fig tree when it occurred, instead mentioning only Peter's recollection that it occurred - compare Mark 11:21 and Matthew 21:18-20. In both cases Peter recalls what occurred, and marvels that it has withered away so quickly. Matthew just mentions a summary of what occurred the next day.

Sources

  1. Bible Contradictions. TheThinkingAtheist.
  2. Did the Tree that Jesus Cursed Wither Immediately or Overnight? Christian Apologetics Research Ministry.