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Editor's Note

This week, in place of our normal one chapter per day rhythm, we will follow along chronologically throughout Holy Week and read what Jesus did each day throughout the week that changed the world forever. For an overview of Holy Week, you can refer back to this video to help you set the scene if you missed yesterday’s reading. Thanks for reading along with us this week! 

Read Mark 11:12-19

Jesus Curses a Fig Tree and Clears the Temple Courts

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

Go Deeper.

This section of Scripture represents the second day of Holy Week in Mark’s gospel. The day before, Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey as King, with the Jewish people praising and worshiping Him. However, this day is stark and possibly confusing. Let’s examine the context for the deeper meaning.

Why would Jesus curse a fig tree in verses 12-14? Jesus was always teaching with purpose, and the end of verse 14 states, “His disciples heard him say it.” The fig tree was often symbolic of Israel in Scripture, and a fruitful fig tree symbolized blessing. Leaves on a fig tree were typically present when there was fruit as well. From far away, this tree would appear to be fruitful, but upon closer inspection, there was no fruit. This fig tree represented how Israel would appear religious on the outside, but actually bore no spiritual fruit. While fruit is not required for salvation, it is evidence that a relationship with Jesus exists. John 15:5 says that if we remain in Jesus, we will bear much fruit.

Next, in verses 15-17, Jesus enters the temple and begins to overturn tables and drive out those who were buying and selling there. Verse 17 clearly states why Jesus would do this: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers.” The temple had become a place of dishonest gain and extortion. Specifically, Jewish leaders had allowed, and even encouraged, a marketplace to develop in the place where Gentiles were able to come and pray, in the outer courts of the temple. Jesus not only displayed his authority here to judge the actions and motives of the Jewish people, but he also restored the temple’s court into the house God intended it to be for everyone.

Jesus knew where his actions would lead—the Pharisees would want to kill him as a result. Let’s not take lightly the lesson Jesus gives us in one of his last days before He is crucified. As this second day ends in verse 19, let us consider his warning. Do our lives reflect an outward display of counterfeit religion or fruit from a close relationship with our Savior?  

  1. Do you see evidence of fruit in your life? Reference the fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.

  2. James 2:26 states that “faith without works is dead.” What do you think this passage means? Consider the truth in Ephesians 2:8-10 when answering.

  3. Do you need to confess and change anything in your life in response to reading this passage?

Keep Digging

Read this article from for more information about the money changers mentioned in this passage.

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3 thoughts on “Holy Week: Monday”

  1. Sometimes, I forget that Jesus was fully human. Verse 12 reads “he was hungry”. I want to remember his humanity as he willingly embraced the cross and all he endured. I wonder how we are like the fig tree, showing signs of promise of fruit but bearing none. The gospel of John has much to say about fruit bearing. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He that abides in me and I in him will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing.” The secret is always in the abiding; it is a vital necessity, not an option. I’m getting real this morning as I examine my heart against the searchlight of scripture. I know His Word has been deeply planted in my heart, now to live it out. Through the power of the Holy Spirit I press on.

    1. HE IS RISEN

      As we maneuver through this life as followers of Christ it is good to know up front that this road we are journeying is not just rainbows and sunshine. God, thankfully, through His Holy Spirit will help us, if we allow Him, to empower our conduct as we walk by the Spirit (Gal 5:25). The fruit hanging from my tree is far from ripe, I am sad to say. All my fruit is in need of “Sonshine” and I am so thankful He did what He did and LOVED His Father enough to obey.
      God thank You for tenacity to be and have beautiful fruit ready for picking and doing Your work. You have called us to not “work” for our salvation but once we are serving You, to work for You in this world with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,faithfulness, gentleness and self control. We have a job to do of showing others Christ and also to work a regular job for Your glory and honor as well!! Thank you for helping me to be all that You desire me be and do in Jesus name amen. Woohoo!!!!!!

  2. What is so saddening on this day is the unfolding of jealously and fear. When you read verse 18 ‘The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.’ Even in the other 3 gospels the same story is told of how the Pharisee’s responded with each miracle performed before they had him arrested. Is this not true in our own walk? Have you overcame a stronghold but still receive repercussion? Are you bearing fruit because what the Lord has done for you and still there are people that are fearful of you? You are not alone….if we were all to tell our testimonies we would find that there is opposition, offense, jealousy, and unbelief. We are to reflect Jesus. We are to endure ridicule and be radicle for the gospel’s sake. We are to rebuke those, and continue to bare fruit–regardless. Thank you, Jesus for your boldness in loving us enough to endure shame and ridicule to give us eternal life with you. Father, unblind people during this week to see truth. For them to see what Jesus sacrificed emotionally for us. In Jesus Name

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