Monday of Holy Week
On Sunday evening of what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus left Jerusalem and went to Bethany where He stayed the night (Mk. 11:11).
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple. And he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.
The cursing of the fig tree is possibly a parallel to the Parable of the Fig Tree (Lk. 13:6-9) and symbolic of what was happening as the nation had, at this time of the cursing, rejected Jesus for three years. In keeping with the parable of the barren fig tree the tree should be cut down since it was not producing any fruit, just like what was happening in the nation at this time.
The clearing of the temple was to remove those were selling sacrificial animals to help those who lived in far off lands make their appropriate sacrifices to God through purchasing their sacrifice. The problem was that they had turned it into a way for people to make money and to cheat people who were not able to bring the appropriate sacrifice the distance to the temple. As Jesus entered the temple he knew what had been going on and immediately cleared the temple. This was one of the few occasions where we see Jesus exhibiting any sort of anger, and it was a righteous anger at that. The people had defiled the holy place of God and Jesus would not stand for it.
Today we do not offer sacrifices at a temple like people used to have to do, instead we are to “offer [y]our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). We are told in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 that we “are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in [y]our midst.” So if you picture your body as a temple of God and then place yourself into the timeline as the temple that Jesus cleared out. What would He have to clear out from you? Our bodies are the holy temple of God. Holiness is an attribute of God and no other, so whatever is not of God must be removed from the temple. These are the things in our life that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to change. Some are small things that can be easily discarded while others will take more effort and God sees the effort that we put forth. He knows when we love Him and are willing to do anything it takes to be closer to Him.
This is the final week before Jesus is placed on the cross for the sins that we carry. What sins need to be removed from the temple that you house within you today?