This is the day we remember Jesus clearing the Temple. “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers” (Matt. 21:13b).
All four gospels tell of Jesus driving out the merchants and money changers from the Temple. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell of Him doing this either shortly after arriving in Jerusalem that first day or the next day. Matthew tells of it before telling of the fig tree story. Mark puts it after Jesus curses the fig tree. Luke leaves out the fig tree incident completely. And John puts the event in the beginning of his telling of the gospel. There is controversy over whether Jesus cleaned the Temple once or twice because of the placement of the story in John’s account. John followed no chronological order in his presentation of Jesus’ life so an argument could be made either way.
I imagine the people were thrilled to see Jesus doing this! The people were fleeced every year by the merchants and the money changers. I was telling my husband about how the animals and goods were ‘not good enough’ that the people brought and that the merchants would sell them ‘sacrifice worthy’ animals instead. I jokingly said they need the ‘stamp of approval’ on them like our USDA stamp on meats in the United States. Jesus put a stop to this, at least for the day. I wonder how long it took the merchants and money changers to gather up their wares and reestablish their shops. Were they afraid Jesus would do it again each morning when He came to speak in the Temple?
There was as second event that was important on this day and that was Jesus’ interaction with the fig tree. I mentioned that Matthew and Mark share with us the story of Jesus being hungry and cursing the fig tree because it had no fruit to offer Him.
I have often wondered about this story. We are told in the story itself that it wasn’t the season for figs so why would Jesus curse the tree when He saw it had no fruit? I feel sorry for the tree. I believe Jesus could have commanded it to bear fruit and it would have but why curse it when it is following its natural cycle? Was it simply to teach His disciples a lesson? Was it His frustration showing? I KNOW it wasn’t a sinful act but was it simply a human one? I wish I could wrap my arms around Him that morning and offer Him something to eat instead. Maybe the fig tree would have been spared. But then the lesson which came later would have been missed. His time was SHORT so maybe that too was why this lesson came up.
Lord Jesus, THANK YOU again for ALL You did during this final week. Even with everything weighing on Your mind and heart, You still found ways to teach the people. Your disciples AND those waiting in Jerusalem. I would have LOVED to see the faces of the merchants that day as You stepped up and began flipping over tables. Hopefully they steered clear of You the rest of the Passover season.
Previous Post Reposted:
A Clean House – looks at Jesus as He cleans the cleans the Temple and what He accomplished in doing so.
A Singular Purpose – Looks at how Jesus’ whole life was one singular purpose leading up to His final act.