Today is Monday of Holy Week when our Savior began to make waves among the Jews and religious leaders by His words and actions. As we will see in the next few days, these waves would lead to Jesus’s betrayal and death.
Jesus Clears the Temple
Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15-19, and Luke 19:45-48
A few years ago, we were visiting New Orleans on spring break, and it just so happened to be Palm Sunday. As we were walking around Jackson Square in the French Quarter that Sunday morning, we saw people selling paintings and hand-made items. Alongside these items were “fortune tellers” and tarot card readers. While it didn’t shock us to see this (after all, we were in New Orleans), what did shock us was that these booths were set up right in front of St. Louis Cathedral.
Our son, Connor, who was in sixth grade at the time, looked at me and said, “Mom, now I know what Jesus felt like when He cleared the temple out!”
When Jesus cleared the temple out (for the second time, I might add!), we saw His human side. He’d wept over Jerusalem, and now He was just plain angry with them — and justifiably so. The people were using the temple, a place of worship and prayer, to conduct business transactions.
You would think after He did it the first time, they would get the hint and not do it again, but they didn’t!
“He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:13
The Passover was not only a big celebration for the Jewish people, but it was also a big money-maker. The merchants sold animals for sacrifice, which was fine. It was where they chose to do it that made Jesus angry. Their business transactions were interrupting people who wanted to worship the Lord.
Jesus did what He needed to do to clear the temple out: He knocked over the tables and drove the people away.
After clearing everyone out, the temple could now be used as it was intended to be used — as a house of prayer and healing.
The Cursing of the Fig Tree
Matthew 21:18-19 and Mark 11:12-14
Jesus and His disciples were returning to Jerusalem and were hungry. He noticed a fig tree up ahead that was full of leaves. However, when He got up to it, there were no figs. The tree looked good from a ways away, but up close it was useless, and it couldn’t provide any nourishment.
“And he said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again.’ And his disciples heard it.” Mark 11:14
Much like us at times.
We look good on the outside, but spiritually barren on the inside.
Let’s take resolve today to be spiritually active.
Let’s dig into the Word.
Let’s tell others how the Lord has worked in our lives.
Let’s let others see Jesus through our words and actions.
Let’s be the light that this dark world needs.
Heavenly Father, we come to You today with our heads bowed down, and our arms open wide, may we lead others to You. May we not be afraid to tell others of the Gospel or our story. Please provide us the words that we need to be spiritually active in this dark world. In Jesus’ Name, we pray! Amen.