Passages to Read
For a full account of the events of this day, see Matthew 21:12–22, Mark 11:12–19, and Luke 19:45–48.
After spending the night in Bethany, Jesus and the disciples headed towards Jerusalem. One would have to think that the previous day’s reception would have the disciples feeling good about the day ahead. Little did they know, that day and the days ahead would be filled with some very impactful moments.
On the way back to the city of Jerusalem, Jesus stopped at a fig tree that had no fruit on it. The disciples were confused when Jesus stopped to curse a fig tree and see it wither so quickly. This day of Holy Week is sometimes referred to as “Fig Monday” due to this odd exchange. To better understand, we can look at Jeremiah 8:13 where the fig tree is represented as Israel itself. Jesus is pointing out that the people have lost their way and deserve judgment for their sins. We know that Jesus himself took on that judgment and took the punishment for us. Like the fig tree, Jesus wanted the people to be producing “fruit” and not be found barren. We see that many knew the right words to say, but their hearts were far from God.
The next exchange in scripture we see is Jesus becoming upset with what he saw as a house of prayer being turned into a “den of robbers.” The temple had become a place of business, no longer focused on God. Outrageous prices and interest where put on out-of towners, money-making schemes established by the priests, and high prices charged for animals to be used as Passover sacrifices.
Jesus would turn over the tables where doves were being sold. Jesus’ righteous anger erupted knowing that this is not what the God of Israel intended for the temple. On this Monday of Holy Week, Jesus brought the money-making schemes to a halt. These actions would set the tone for what was to come the following day.
Prayer and Reflection Point
This day gives us a lot to pause and think about. From examining our lives and asking, “Do we produce spiritual fruit?”, to thinking about how we approach worship each week. Like the fig tree, does our daily life show fruit of growing closer to Him, serving others, and showing Christ-likeness to those around us? Ask God today to help you approach worship as a time of focusing on Him and not your own self-interest. Pray for opportunities to bear “spiritual fruit” for His Kingdom.
Family Application and Map Check Point
Read Matthew 21:12-17 as a family. Look at the map and locate the temple where Jesus overturned the tables and place a coin at that site. Talk about the importance of reverence, worship, and focus on Him.
The children that day in the temple were excited and calling out to Jesus because of the great things he had done. Talk about some of the great things that He had done for you and your family. Give thanks to God for the many blessings and ask Him to help you be mindful this week of the many ways He provides for you and your family each day.
Holy Week Timeline
• Jesus cursed the Fig Tree (Matthew 21:18-22).
• Jesus cleansed the Temple (Mark 11:15-19).