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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 (or if you missed yesterday’s reading), refer back to yesterday’s post. 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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7 thoughts on “Monday”

  1. The gospels show us what was on Jesus’s mind in the days leading up to his death. He witnessed the lives of barren, self-absorbed people who he had ordained to live faithfully and fruitfully for kingdom purposes. Instead what he witnessed denied the existence of those living holy lives before God. Even God’s house of worship had been defiled by extortion. Where have we missed the mark? One scripture that forces me to examine my heart is found in 2 Timothy 3:5 in referencing fake belief, “having a form of godliness but denying its power” calls me instead to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit to invest in genuine faith to live boldly for Christ. Every time I refuse to be controlled by the Spirit, I am denying the power of God. Wow! If this is a pattern in my life, am I a true believer or am I deceived like the Pharisees?

    1. Great reflection, I love J.P.’s sermon yesterday….how we serve not only if we do not…..there have been times in my journey I have denied the power of God. I would worry would he take me back, but as I have gotten older it took me 60 years to trully find the answer, you see the bumper sticker God is my Co Pilot ….well I always thought he let me have the wheel…but have found he only may let me think that….God had and always will have the wheel…Thank you for that Lord Hesus
      Happy Easter

  2. Counterfeit. Are we fake in our walk with God? Are you bearing fruit? (love [unselfish concern for others], joy, [inner] peace, patience [not the ability to wait, but how we act while waiting], kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.) Our life and faith in God is on display everyday. Am I showing the world who my Savior is? Am I outwardly “religious” and inwardly dead? I want my reality to be with an intimate walk with God through Jesus Christ and I do not really care if it shows, but it will if it is TRUTH! Here in these passages the Temple was the place to find and seek God. Jesus saw and overturned the counterfeitness. It was not acceptable for Him to allow. It should not be allowed or acceptable to us in our Temple where God dwells. Let us/me clean out unforgiveness, and the idols that are dwelling and let our fruit hang in our trees!!!

    God as I see week that is so amazing unfold, let my heart get rid of any counterfeit parts that are not of You. God I do want to be an odd fruity tree. I want You to shine forth out of my eyes and all I touch, say or do. God help me be a light today in these minutes of this day to all I come in contact with. Let You shine brighter, for Your glory, honor and that I am worshipping You with my whole being in Jesus name amen.

  3. Cursing fig trees and upending tables!

    Sometimes I mistakenly think of Jesus as some kind of Mr. Rogers personality.

    I see here that Jesus is most definitely much more than just a gentle and soft-spoken Mr. Rogers!

  4. Diane Frances Rogers

    Impress upon me, Holy Spirit the gospel that I will live my life according to my Father’s purpose.
    I pray Proverbs 16:7 “When a man’s way please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
    In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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