(Based on Marc 11:12-19)
Jesus was staying in Bethany four days before his crucifixion. In the morning Jesus traveled from Bethany to Jerusalem along with his disciples. Now let’s note Jesus was left with only last two days of his public ministry. He spent most of the last two days before his crucifixion along with his disciples. Jesus knew his public ministry was going to end soon. He also knew, his ministry on earth was going to be over very soon.
Fig Tree Cursed
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples were hungry. Jesus saw a fig tree from distance and approached it. But he could only find leaves. The Passover is normally celebrated between late March and beginning of April. It is not the season for fig trees. But Jesus cursed the tree by saying, “No one will ever eat fruit from you again!”. Why was Jesus expecting fruit from a tree when it was not even the season? Doesn’t it sound illogical?
There could be multiple theological explanations to this:
1. Jesus expects the Christians to be ready and be fruitful all the time independent of circumstances of their life.
2. As Jesus was approaching the temple from Bethany, he was conveying judgment against the Jerusalem temple and its fruitless ministry.
3. The fig tree represents the nation of Israel. It represents the curse on Israel which look superficially as if following all the laws but not spiritually producing fruits.
Jesus Cleanses the temple
Jesus and disciples reached the Jerusalem temple and they entered the temple courts. Jesus saw the temple was converted as market. There was more buying and selling than worship. During Jesus times most of the profit out of the temple business went to the high priests. The money changers converted the foreign currency to the temple currency. The items sold in the temple can be bought only with the temple currency. No other currency was accepted. The temple business was aligned to make an enormous profit by selling items essential for sacrifice. The currency conversion rates were decided by the money changers and twisted to loot the foreigners who came to Jerusalem for festivals.
Jesus knowing all this overturned the tables of money changers and did not allow anyone to carry on the business in temple court. By doing this Jesus directly stood against the high priest and their business interest. Jesus loved the sinners but hated the sins. He had a perfect demarcation between the sin and the sinners. He can not stand the sin but always willing to forgive the sinners as long as they are willing to change. Jesus expected the church to be a house of prayer for all nation. To stand in the gap and pray for its own and other nations. But during Jesus times it was converted to a profit-oriented business center. Jesus wanted to set a clear expectation before he left the earth.
High priest did not want to arrest Jesus during the Passover to avoid riots and stampede. But due to the direct act of Jesus against powerful men in the Jewish circle they started thinking against their original plan. They wanted to kill him but they feared Jesus since he had lot of support from ordinary citizens. The Jewish leaders witnessed the procession of Jesus in the donkey previous day.
When the evening came Jesus and his disciples went back to Bethania. It was four days before crucifixion of Jesus.
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