Early the next morning, as Jesus was on his way back to Jerusalem he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” His disciples heard him say this.
Once they reached Jerusalem Jesus went into the temple area and began to drive out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.
As he taught them he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? (Isaiah 56:7). But you have made it ‘a den of robbers and rebels (Jeremiah 7:11).’”
While teaching the blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indigent.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city back to Bethany to stay for the night.
This is the account found in Matthew 21:12-19, but it is also recorded in Mark 11:12-19. They seem to contradict each other. Matthew many times compressed his narrative focusing on events and not timelines. Mark followed more of a timeline when telling of the ministry of Jesus.
In this passage that describes the events of Monday following the Triumphal Entry we see the authority of Jesus. He was given authority by the Father in Heaven (Matthew 3:16-17) and he taught the people the heart of the law of God and made atonement for the sins of all so nothing can separate us from God.
The Pharisees were intimidated and fearful of the authority that Jesus carried because it revealed how incomplete they were. The heart of man is prideful and many times when we encounter God we are greatly humbled. Yesterday we looked at the Triumphal Entry where Jesus entered the city being praised as the promised King who will rein forever and ever (Isaiah 9:7). His purpose was announced.
But there was a hitch in his get along. He wasn’t coming in power, but in humility. Because his entrance fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9: “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
So what is the big deal with it? Well, when a King came in to conquer he would come in on a horse, which was a vessel of war. But this King came in on a donkey which symbolized peace. The people of Israel were looking for someone to throw off their earthly oppressor, Rome. But Jesus came to throw off their spiritual oppressor, Satan. He will come to conquer in the end, Revelation 19:11-21.
So now on Monday, this “king” that they thought would give Rome the “what for” is now giving them “what for”. Their egos were bruised and the only way they saw fit to fix their problem was to do away with him by killing him. Little do they know that this throws into motion the Ultimate Sacrifice, one man laying down his life for his friends.
What is your attitude towards God? Do you see him as cruel because he doesn’t do things the way you think they should be done? That is rather prideful and pride goes before a fall (Proverbs 16:18).
Come back tomorrow and see what happens on Tuesday of Holy Week. Or you can read it for yourself in Matthew 21:23-39 & 26:6-13, Mark 11:20-12:44 & 14:3-9, Luke 20:1-21:4, and John 12:2-11.