Monday of Holy Week starts with Jesus in Bethany and the walk back to Jerusalem. The problem however was Jesus was hungry (Mark 11: 12). On the natural side of things you have to wonder why his host had not supplied breakfast? Was Jesus being a good guest and did not wake them up or had they even stayed in anyone’s house? They certainly had to return the donkey from the day before and the Mount of Olives and Bethany were places of seclusion and safety after the big parade into Jerusalem.
After the jokes you could make about hunger and being grumpy Jesus’ actions in the Temple and with the fig tree are significant. (See my study on figs) and (Monday, Holy Week 2013) Hunger is a complex chemical reaction of the body that involves several of your body systems: nerves, blood, digestive, and hormonal systems. Jesus’ body was ready to break the night’s fast and to get back into a properly functioning track. His expectation of fruit on the tree even though it was not in season really was not out of line, as they will do that. But the curse on the tree foreshadows the experience He is about to have in the Temple and what will happen to religious bodies that do not bear fruit. The Temple (tree) is not bearing fruit even though it appears busy (leaves) so it is not helping the people just feeding itself. The whole system from priest, to animal sellers, moneychangers, and worshippers were not functioning properly.
Jesus’ physical hunger and His supernatural zeal for the Temple and the things of God are driving forces that demanded action. So when He could not be satisfied stopping the problem was His response – curse on the tree and stopping the merchandise.
References for Monday of Holy Week: Matthew 21: 12-17, Mark 11:12-19, Luke 19:45-47, John 12: 20-50
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