Mar 11 outline:
Mar 11:1-11, Jesus entered the city through the East Gate riding on a colt;
Mar 11:12-14, The fig tree which did not bear figs
Mar 11:15-19, Jesus cleansed the Temple of money changers and merchants
Mar 11:20-21, The fig tree withered from its roots
Mar 11:22-24, The one who does not doubt will have whatever they ask in prayer
Mar 11:25-26, When you pray, forgive, that your Father in heaven may forgive you
Mar 11:27-33, The chief priests, scribes, and elders question Jesus’ authority
Mar 11 chiastic structure:
1a) Mar 11:1-11, The Son of David entered the city + Temple through the prince’s gate/ proclaimed the Messiah;
1b) Mar 11:12-14, The fig tree which did not bear figs;
central axis) Mar 11:15-19, Jesus cleansed the Temple of money changers + merchants;
2b) Mar 11:20-26, The lesson of the fig tree withered from its roots;
1a) Mar 11:20-21, The fig tree Jesus cursed withered from its roots;
1b) Mar 11:22-23, Have faith in God/ if you do not doubt in your heart but believe, you will have whatever you say;
central axis) Mar 11:24a, Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray;
2b) Mar 11:24b, Believe that you receive them, and you will have them;
2a) Mar 11:25-26, Therefore forgive others, that your Father may forgive you/ but if you do not, neither will your Father.
2a) Mar 11:27-33, The chief priests, scribes, elders question Jesus’ authority.
In order to understand why the A pairs pair, we have to understand the significance of entering through East Gate, which is the prince’s gate. Jesus entered Jerusalem as the promised Son of David, and the people proclaimed Him to be so, their Messiah!
But then here is the second puzzle. The chiastic structure makes it clear that the fig tree which was withered from its roots, prompted the teaching from Mar 11:20-26. But how, and why? If we understand the connection, then we will understand the lesson of the withered fig tree.
Jesus went to the fig tree looking for fruit, and when He did not find any, He cursed the fig tree, so that it withered from its roots, and no one could eat fruit from it ever again. This is paired with the admonition to forgive others who have trespassed against you, so that the Father in heaven may forgive us our trespasses. But if we choose not to forgive, then He will choose not to forgive. The measure we use, will be the measure that will be used with us. Forgiveness from the heart is the fruit the Father is seeking! For if we want to be forgiven, then we must do unto others, and forgive.