What lesson is to be learned from Matthew 21 v 18 and 19?
answer == Matthew: "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 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" (xxi, 18, 19). Jesus cursed a living tree and it died; Mohammed blessed a dead tree and it lived. The alleged conduct of Jesus on many occasions, notably his harsh treatment of his mother, his abuse of the Pharisees, his purging the temple and his cursing the fig tree, is not the conduct of a rational being, but rather that of a madman. If these stories be historical they would indicate that he was not wholly responsible for his words and acts. Dr. Jules Soury, of the University of France, believes that he was the victim of an incurable mental disorder. In a work on morbid psychology, entitled Studies on Jesus and The Gospels, Dr. Soury cites a long array of seemingly indisputable facts in support of his theory. From his preface to the work, I quote the following: "Jesus the God, gone down in his glory, like a star sunk beneath the horizon but still shedding a few faint rays on the world, threw a halo round the brow of Jesus the Prophet. In the dull glow of that twilight, in the melancholy but charming hour when everything seemed wrapped in vague, ethereal tints, Jesus appeared to Strauss and Renan such as he had shown himself to his first disciples, the Master par-excellence, a man truly divine. Then came the night; and as darkness descended on those flickering gospel beginnings there remained nought to be descried through the obscurity of dubious history, but dimly looming, the portentous outline of the gibbet and its victim. "In the present work Jesus makes his appearance, perhaps for the first time, as a sufferer from a grave malady, the course of which we have attempted to trace. "The nervous, or cerebral disorder, at first congestive and then inflammatory, under which he labored, was not only deep-seated and dangerous -- it was incurable. Among us at the present time that affection may be seen daily making kings, millionaires, popes, prophets, saints, and even divinities of poor fellows who have lost their balance; it has produced more than one Messiah. "If we be right in the interpretation of data which has been followed in the study of morbid psychology, Jesus, at the time of his death, was in a somewhat advanced stage of this disorder. He was, to all appearance, cut off opportunely; the gibbet saved him from actual madness. "The diagnosis which we have ventured to draw is based on three sets of facts which are attested by the most ancient and trustworthy of the witnesses of his career. "1. Religious excitement, then general in Palestine, drove Jesus to the wilderness, where he lived some time the life of a recluse, as those who considered themselves to have the prophetic mission often did. Carried away with the idea that he was divinely inspired to proclaim the coming of the Messiah he left his own people and his native place, and, attended by a following of fishermen and others of the same class, went about among the towns and villages of Galilee announcing the speedy approach of the Kingdom of Heaven. "2. After having proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, like other contemporary Jewish prophets, Jesus gradually came to look upon himself as the Messiah, the Christ. He allowed himself to be called the Son of David, the Son of God, and had among his followers one, if not more, of those fanatical Sicarii, so graphically described by Josephus, who were waiting for the deliverance of Israel from the yoke of Rome. Progressive obliteration of the consciousness of his personal identity marks the interval between the somewhat vague revelation which he made to his disciples at the foot of Mount Hermon and the day when, before Caiaphas and before Pilate, he openly declared that he was the Messiah, and by that token the King of the Jews. "3. The cursing of the fig tree whereon there were no figs, because 'the time of figs was not yet,' the violent conduct toward the dealers and changers at the temple, were manifestly foolish acts. Jesus had come to believe that everything was permitted him, that all things belonged to him, that nothing was too hard for him to do. For a long time he had given evident signs of perversion of the natural affections, especially with respect to his mother and brethren. To the fits of anger against the priests and religious ministers of his nation, to the ambitious extravagance of his words and acts, to the wild dream of his Messianic grandeur, there rapidly supervened a characteristic depression of the mental faculties and strength, a giving way of the intellectual and muscular flowers Source; #571 http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/rmsbrg08.htm