Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy Monday

image


There are two events that we know of from Scripture that occurred the Monday before Jesus rose from the grave:
1.  Jesus curses a fig tree 
2. Jesus cleanses the temple

Yesterday we left off with Jesus returning to Bethany for the night after His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  Monday Jesus returns to the city of Jerusalem.  As He walks there with His disciples, they pass a fig tree.  Seeing that the fig tree had no fruit, He cursed it and the tree withered.

Mark 11:12-14 recounts:
"12 On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 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. 14 And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it."

 From a distance, Jesus could see that the tree was green with leaves. the appearance of green leaves in bloom would indicate that green figs were already growing. The tree had the appearance of bearing fruit, but didn't.  But when Jesus came to the tree and saw that it had no fruit, He cursed it.  This is symbolic of the hypocrisy of all who have the appearance that they are bearing fruit, but in fact are not.  Here it is specifically referring to the Jewish people who have turned away from God into empty rituals instead of showing true fruit of worship. (which would have no doubt have been clearly seen during this Passover week).  Jesus' cursing of the fig tree symbolizes the coming destruction of the city of Jerusalem and Israel.  

Jesus continues to make His way, with His disciples, to the temple.

Matthew 21:12-13 says, "And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  And He said to them, It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN.".


In order to fully understand Jesus cleansing the temple, we first need to understand how the temple system worked.

First of all, taxes for the temple could not be paid in any currency other than the Jewish coinage (the shekel) Therefore, all Roman/other currency had to be exchanged for Jewish coins.  There would have been men sitting outside of the temple exchanging people's coins.  However, often the cost for exchanges was gauged and exchange rates were not equal in order for the money changers to increase profits for themselves.

Near this same area, there would have been areas of people selling animals to be sacrificed.  Only perfect animals could be sacrificed in the temple.  Perhaps a family could not bring a lamb with them the distance they had to travel to Jerusalem.  Or the priests didn't "approve" as perfect the animal they had brought from home.  People could buy  "pre-approved" lambs, doves, pigeons, etc. at the temple.  The prices for these animals could be exponentially greater than their worth.

This would have taken place in the Royal Stoa- the red roofed area in the picture below.


This is at the Southern entrance of the temple and this is the area where all "business" of the temple took place.  It was were money was exchanged, animals sold, and where the Sanhedrin met.

When we were in Israel we had the privilege of visiting the southern stairs, (the large, long staircase in the middle of the picture above).  There is little debate that it is from this staircase that Jesus entered the temple mount.

Here are some pictures of the southern stairs and a short video clip that I took while I was there.




video


As Jesus comes into the temple and sees the disgrace of these practices in His Father's dwelling place, He becomes angry at what is taking place, and takes action to show His disapproval.

Matthew 21:12-13 says, "And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  And He said to them, It is written, 'MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN.".

The people around were grateful for what took place, children again began shouting "Hosanna" and the blind and lame came to Him to be healed.  (Matthew 21:14-16)  He began teaching them there in the temple.

But the religious teachers were obviously displeased with His actions and were indignant towards him.  However they were afraid to do anything at this point, because they feared a riot from the people.   (Mark 11:18)

Jesus later leaves the temple and returns to Bethany for the night.
________________________________________________________________




If you would like to study this information in greater detail, a great site that I found related to this topic is here

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...