Over the next several days, we will be briefly detailing what Jesus was doing on each day of the week He died. If you missed yesterday’s blog, you can check it out here. And, please stay tuned for more of these as we progress through the week.
Tuesday, April 5th, 30 AD.
After spending the night in Bethany, Jesus returned to Jerusalem where several key events happened.
THE MORNING, on His way into the city He became hungry, so He stopped by a nearby fig tree to eat. When He saw that nothing was on the tree, He cursed the tree and sentenced it to perpetual fruitlessness while His confused disciples looked on (Mark 11:12-14). You may be wondering about this as well.
Why did He do it?
The text does tell us that Jesus was hungry, but it is clear that He did not use His divine nature to enact an immature, hunger-induced, retribution upon a fruitless tree. What Jesus was doing, was similar to what the prophets of old would do, acting out a parable.
Here, the tree represented Israel, the one who was supposed to be healthy and bear the fruit of God. But, instead of finding this city healthy and about the Lord’s work, Jesus found her spiritually withering and barren (Isaiah 5:1-7). And as He curses this simple tree, the overarching point is that the end is coming for Jerusalem and her temple. Her fruitless days will soon be over. In forty years, a single generation from the events of this week, the Romans would descend upon the city and utterly destroy it. And just like a dead fig tree that was long overdue to be thrown in the fire, Jerusalem would be burned to ashes by Rome.
This scene was a lived our parable of the judgment of God. And because they did not repent, it really happened in 70AD.
FROM THERE, Jesus continued along into Jerusalem and approached the temple mount He had left the night before. After spending the previous night inspecting the temple and likely praying, He knew exactly what He was there to do. Like a gardener surgically removing the dead branches, Jesus began driving out everyone who were buying and selling in the court of the Gentiles (Mark 11:15-16).
These men had overrun the Gentile court like parasites. Instead of it being a place of prayer for the Gentile nations to come and to pray, they had turned it into a den for liars and thieves. It was so filled with merchants, there was no longer any room for the Gentiles to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to pray, and ask the one true God to save them. When Jesus arrived on Tuesday, with Passover looming, there was only room for the selfish, racist, religious, and fruitless men who were trying to make a profit off of cold and dead religion. No wonder Jesus was angry.
Like the barren fig tree Jesus cursed, Jesus diagnosed their fruitless deeds, drove them out with a corded whip (John 2:13-17), and promised to give the Kingdom of God over to those who would produce His fruit (Matthew 21:43).
ONCE THE TEMPLE WAS CLEANSED, and none of those scoundrels remained, all those who were driven from the outer courtyard returned. The blind and the lame streamed to Him to be healed by Him (Matthew 21:14). In a single moment, the weak, the sick, and infirm had room to approach their covenant God, and they did so face to face with Jesus Christ.
For a moment, our Lord had restored the temple back to it's God-ordained purpose (Isaiah 49:6). And, as a result, praises broke out in the courtyard. Men and women were shouting: “Hosanna to the Son of David”, which means “Son of David save us now” (Matthew 21:15).
This display did not last for long as you might imagine. Instead of celebrating the newly purified temple and rejoicing that those who were far from God could have their courtyard back, the Jews hated Him all the more. They refused to celebrate all of the good God was doing through His Son, and instead, came to challenge Him (Matthew 21:16).
After a short exchange, Jesus departed once more to spend the night in Bethany (Matthew 21:18), while the power brokers in the city sleeplessly plotted for the best moment to destroy Him.
So ends the events of Tuesday.
If you are interested in what Jesus did on Wednesday of Holy Week, check out our Facebook post at 7:00AM or come back to the blog tomorrow. God bless you!