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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. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
– Matthew 21:12-13
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.
– Mark 12:12-14
And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, 42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. 43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side 44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”
– Luke 19:41-44
The Events of
Let’s walk with Jesus this Holy Week. Let’s see how he lives the last week of his life on earth. To be more precise, let’s see how he lives the week of his death on the cross. After his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples several times as recorded in the gospels. Those appearances are important in their own right. We’ll look at those next week. But for now let’s look at the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.
After the remarkable Palm Sunday reception Jesus is not to be deterred from his mission to save the world by his sacrificial death on the cross and his victorious resurrection from the grave. There will be a Day when the praises ring eternally for his glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6). But for now there is other business to attend to.
Jesus cleanses the temple. This is the second time he’s done this. John records the first in the early days of his 3-year ministry (John 2:13-22). Here, in this climatic week Jesus again drives out the money changers. His house will be a house of prayer for all the nations. There must be nothing man-made to limit people’s access to God’s help and grace.
When Jesus curses the fig tree, he shows his sovereign power over all things, his authority to judge. He needs no permission. He alone can see the heart of man and determine the value of a tree.
But Jesus’ heart is broken over Jerusalem. He weeps at their refusal to recognize God’s favor to them. He greives their unwillingness to be gathered to himself. He laments their coming destruction. He will not prevent it – out of justice and pure holiness. But it breaks his heart. Their refusal will add to the pain he endures on the cross.
He returns to the temple late in the day, and then goes back to Bethany. It’s as though he must take one more look at the splendor of this building dedicated to God’s glory. It will soon be torn down. Israel will be expelled. All this is a terrible and sad commentary on what it will cost Jesus to redeem lost and fallen mankind.
But he will do it. He will go to the cross. He will die. He will lay in the tomb. He will rise from the dead. He will ascend into the heavens. He will come again at the end of time. Then the praises will ring out for we will all see the amazingly incredible grace of God. We will rejoice in the reality of salvation. We will be rid of every vestige of sin, sickness, sadness, and Satan’s deceit.
It’s Monday. Friday’s coming. And then Sunday. But for now, it’s Monday. Let’s walk with Jesus this week.