Posted by: Ed | March 29, 2010


On Monday of Holy Week Jesus went into the temple and caused quite a scene. It’s called “the cleansing of the temple.”

Mark gives us the added detail that Jesus didn’t go straight to turning over the tables of the money changes et al when he entered on the donkey from the Mount of Olives. He looked around, thought about it and came back the next day. This was a deliberate, thought through, calculated act on Jesus’ part. It was designed to make a statement.

Read Mark 11:11-18.
What was “the statement” that Jesus was making?
Jesus came into the “temple” and made a mess of the orderly system they had set up. There are lots of orderly systems that God wants to mess up (See 1 John 3:8)
Now that WE ARE the temple of God (take a quick look at 2 Cor 6:16 and 1 Peter 2:5), are the tables, systems in my life that we need to invite Jesus to mess up. Sometimes we like the order in our lives, but it’s not an order that is really of God. Jesus may have to turn over a few tables for us to really experience God. How does God want to mess some stuff up in our lives? Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you as you reflect.

Bonus: Can you connect the whole “fig tree cursing” with the cleansing of the temple?



  1. Going for the bonus question – I feel like I’m on Jeopardy. The tie in between the temple and the fig tree is that the temple is Jerusalem and it has no fruit. The story reflects symbolism that God is going to destroy the temple. Related, the rejection of Jesus is the ultimate rejection of God by the people which contributes to judgment and demise. In this scripture, Mark gives us a Markan sandwich where he tells one story, then a different story, then finishes the first story tying it together. I also think there is a reference in this to Jer 7:11 where people were also treating the temple like a safe-have for robbers. Is this correct from your point of view? I got this from class last quarter and there was a lot of info, so I’m still trying to keep it all straight.

  2. Because the fig tree had leaves, this was an indication they would also have taqsh. An edible product that appears on the fig tree prior to figs growing a little later on. Apparently this tree did not have the taqsh growing which would mean no figs later in season. This would give an outer appearance of fruitfulness (the leaves) but in reality no hope for fruit later on.
    The cleansing of the temple was to do what any good Jewish person would do prior to Passover, and that is to clean your house of leaven (or sin).
    Both the fig tree and the people in the temple had an appearance of fruitfullness but both were being deceptive.

  3. Ah . . . the fig tree. Well, now that you mentioned it, and if I’m not mistaken I believe that there was also another reference to a “fig tree” that a “trench” was dug around, and some “fertilizer, or what ever word seems appropriate” was apparently used as well with the intentions of finding some latter productivity.

    Well Ed, to be quite frank with you; at times I feel as though the Lord has missed the trench, and I am now covered with . . .Well . . .”fertilizer”, as it were. But, that scripture that is ever present in my thinking has a tremendous ability to “cut through the fertilizer” that sounds like this:

    “And this I recall to mind, therefore I have confidence: it is of the Lords mercies that we are not consumed, His compassions never fail, they are renewed every morning, great is thy faithfulness’ and it some how makes the fertilizer smell a bit more pleasant.

    See you bud . . .

  4. I love Duane and William’s responses. Regarding “fertilizer”…. I think God takes our compost and *&^% and with his beautiful grace makes a proper fertilizer so that we can bear fruit despite it all. Thank goodness because Lord knows I have a lot of the stinky stuff.

  5. From “glory to glory”..looks more like “mud puddle to mud puddle”!

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