Holy Monday: Jesus – Cursin’ Fig Trees and Flippin’ Tables
We’ve entered into the second day of Holy Week called Holy Monday. Holy Monday takes us into the beginning of an intense week for Jesus. But before we begin to discuss what happened on that particular day, let’s set the tone.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus rode through Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecy that He is the Messiah, the Prince of Peace. We’re told in the gospel account of Luke that He also wept at the reality that Jerusalem did not recognize the Way to peace, which now would be hidden from their eyes (Luke 19:41-44). The children of Israel were seeking an earthly solution to their problems: a crowned king who would drive out the Romans from Israel. But in this blind pursuit, they completely missed the Way of Peace, Jesus Christ the Messiah, who Himself is our Peace (Ephesians 2:14-18).
What a weighty moment it must have been to know that You are the Savior of the world, and Your own does not even recognize You! Strangers would rejoice at Your Word and place saving faith in Your name, but the nation You set apart as Your own would reject You, thereby rejecting their own salvation.
Jesus didn’t weep for Himself. He wept over Jerusalem.
So coming off of this moment, the Gospel of Mark accounts how Jesus then entered into the temple. He looked around at everything in the temple and since it was already late, went to Bethany with the twelve disciples (Mark 11:11). This is important to note because it puts into context what happened that next day, Holy Monday.
Jesus spent the evening in Bethany (most likely with the homies: Martha, Mary and Lazarus), and the next day, when He was headed back to Jerusalem with His twelve disciples, He was hungry (Mark 11:12). From afar, Jesus noticed a fig tree with leaves, so He went to see if He might find something on it to eat. But when He came to the tree, He found nothing on it but leaves. There was no fruit because it wasn’t the season for figs. Essentially, the fig tree was “faking the funk”. It gave the appearance that it had born fruit, but it was only covered in fig leaves. (Sound familiar? See Genesis 3:7-8) And in response, Jesus said to it: “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” (Mark 11:12-14).
From there, He and His disciples entered the temple where He witnessed those who bought and sold merchandise and exchanged money for visitors. Upon entry, Jesus immediately began turning over the tables of money changers and driving out merchants with a whip of cords (John 2:13-23). Jesus then taught them saying, “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!” (Mark 11:17)
By the time Jesus got to the temple on Monday (aside from still being hungry), He had witnessed faithlessness and unrighteousness abound. The children of Israel were rejoicing, but had no understanding of what they were rejoicing about. These same people would soon yell to Pontius Pilate to have Him crucified. He also had likely witnessed the wickedness occurring in the temple the evening before. Faithless men and women buying and selling temple sacrifices for profit, abusing God’s people and His house.
Even the fig tree wasn’t producing fruit! Jesus was over it!
So He exhibited a righteous indignation by flipping tables and whipping thieves. It’s important to remember that Jesus never did anything apart from the Father (John 5:19, 30). So this indignation He displayed was righteous. The moneychangers and sellers in the temple were using God’s house as an opportunity for profit, thereby ripping people off and interfering with their ability to worship.
If we put this in modern day context, folks set up a mini-mall in the church and were taxing the tithe. Can you imagine what someone who never knew the Father may have thought? Can you imagine what outsiders may have assumed about the character of our God? Think about how you would have felt about the church or perceived about God if you witnessed this type of behavior. Jesus was zealous for God and the people that God loved.
It’s easy to think of Holy Week as only a time of solemnity and sorrow before Resurrection Sunday. But it’s also about understanding the fullness of the character of God and identifying with Jesus’ journey. Jesus had a righteous zeal for God’s house (John 2:17; Psalm 69:9; 119:139). And what’s beautiful about that zeal is that we are now called the house of the Lord (Ephesians 2:19-22).
There is so much more to uncover on this day that one post won’t do it justice.
Today, let’s spend time contemplating Jesus’ righteous indignation. Let’s ask ourselves the meaning behind it and what it is meant to speak to us today.
Ways to reflect and remember
READ THE GOSPEL ACCOUNTS OF HOLY MONDAY
MEDITATE ON THE WORD
- Meditate on the purpose and meaning behind Jesus’ turn up. It wasn’t just for show. What’s it speaking to us today?
- Why do you believe Jesus was so upset? What did He witness in both the people yelling Hosanna, and the buyers and sellers in the temple?
- What were the people potentially missing that Jesus understood?
- Take time to consider what it means to be the temple of the Living God.
ENGAGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY
- Join a community group this week and discuss His righteous zeal.
- If you have small children, let them experience what it’s like to feel like Jesus that day. Turn over some stuffed animals. Or, if that gets too crazy, have a family bible study where you discuss what happened that day.
Check back here daily for a new post providing study and celebration resources for each day of the week.