Biblical Miracles that Appear in Multiple Cultures and Times

Figs and fig trees were frequently used symbols in the ancient world, including in the Bible. Wikimedia

2. The miracle of the deficient fig tree

According to both Matthew and Mark, Jesus upon departing Bethany encountered a fig tree which, to the consternation of the hungry Jesus, bore no fruit. Jesus cursed the tree to never bear fruit, evidently in a hungry pique (ripe figs were not in season, making it unreasonable to expect any). The story of Jesus and the fig tree bears many interpretations, depending again on the basic beliefs of the pontificator, but one thing is clear from the story without the learned assistance of biblical scholars. Jesus was disappointed that he didn’t get any figs, and responded by assuring no one else would either, at least from that particular tree (Matthew 21: 18 – 22). The Gospel of Luke contains a story which is a parable of a fig tree with many similarities, but without the curse upon the tree as levied by Jesus. The story in all cases is presented as an example of the power of faith in prayer.

Ancient myths regarding the cursing of plants, fruit trees, crops, and other examples of horticulture abound in the tales of the gods from Egypt, Rome, Greek, Phoenicia, and Mesoamerica. The story is presented as a disappointed reaction in Mark and Matthew, a parable in Luke, and whether it was a miracle to be taken literally or a teaching example depends entirely on the reader’s view of the Bible. Either way, tales of gods and mythic figures using food giving plants as demonstrations of their miraculous powers are common. The fig tree is not usually cited in discussions of the miracles attributed to Jesus in the New Testament, but it does appear in three of the four gospels.