Jesus triumphantly arrives in Jerusalem. He curses a fig tree, purges the temple, and explains the fig tree. The scribes challenge his authority.
VERSE 1. When they came near to Jerusalem, to Bethsphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples,
Bethsphage. The name literally means “house of unripe figs.” It was located less than a mile southeast of Jerusalem.
Bethany. The name literally means “house of dates or figs.” It was located about two miles out from Jerusalem on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. It was the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus, as we see from John 11:1:
John 11:1. Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha.
VERSE 2. and said to them, “Go your way into the village that is opposite you. Immediately as you enter into it, you will find a young donkey tied, on which no one has sat. Untie him, and bring him.
VERSE 3. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs him;’ and immediately he will send him back here.”
The Lord. The Greek word is hkyrios. We can assume that Jesus freely refers to himself as “The Lord.”
VERSE 4. They went away, and found a young donkey tied at the door outside in the open street, and they untied him.
they untied him. Part of the ministry of the Messiah is to untie the chains that bind us:
Genesis 49:11. Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey’s colt to the choice vine; he has washed his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
Isaiah 58:6. Isn’t this the fast that I have chosen: to release the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?
VERSE 5. Some of those who stood there asked them, “What are you doing, untying the young donkey?”
VERSE 6. They said to them just as Jesus had said, and they let them go.
VERSE 7. They brought the young donkey to Jesus, and threw their garments on it, and Jesus sat on it.
VERSE 8. Many spread their garments on the way, and others were cutting down branches from the trees, and spreading them on the road.
VERSE 9. Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Psalm 118:26. Blessed is he who comes in the LORD’s name! We have blessed you out of the LORD’s house.
Matthew 21:9. The multitudes who went in front of him, and those who followed, kept shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
Mark 11:9. Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
Luke 13:35. Behold, your house is left to you desolate. I tell you, you will not see me until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ”
Luke 19:38. saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!”
VERSE 10. Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”
VERSE 11. Jesus entered into the temple in Jerusalem. When he had looked around at everything, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.
entered into the temple. The Greek word for “temple” is “hhieron.” It means the temple precincts and not the “hnaos,” or central sanctuary . In other words, Jesus surveyed the premises to see if they were being used as God intended.
The next day. That is, Monday.
VERSE 13. Seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
it was not the season for figs. The time of year was Passover, in the middle of the month of Nisan (April). At this time of year, fig trees were usually producing green buds but not fruit.
May no one ever eat fruit from you again! This is remarkable. Jesus is hungry, looks for a fig tree, and finds no fruit. At first glance, it seems that Jesus got angry with the tree and cursed it.
However, most Christians interpret this as a dramatic sign of prophecy. It predicts God’s impending judgment on Israel. Despite their great favoring by God, and despite their impressive religiosity, they were spiritually barren.
SUMMARY: This incident is recorded in Matthew, Mark, and Luke
VERSE 15. They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers’ tables, and the seats of those who sold the doves.
into the temple. The Greek word is hhieron. It means the large outer court of the Gentiles. Caiaphas the high priest had authorized a market to be situated there
1. Merchants sold ritually pure items necessary for temple sacrifice, such as wine and oil, salt, and approved sacrificial animals and birds.
2. Money changers provided the temple coins required for the annual half- shekel temple tax. They exchanged for Greek and Roman money.
throw out. Jesus is outraged by their blatant abuse of the temple.
carry a container through the temple. People going from one part of the city to another took a shortcut through this Court of the Gentiles, even if they were loaded down with merchandise. It had become a thoroughfare.
VERSE 17. He taught, saying to them, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a den of robbers!”
you have made it a den of robbers! Although Jesus addressed this to his immediate hearers, it is also addressed to Caiaphas the high priest, who had authorized this abuse of the temple.
Isaiah 56:7. I will bring these to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples.”
Jeremiah 7:11. Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it,” says the LORD.
Matthew 21:13. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers!”
Mark 11:17. He taught, saying to them, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ But you have made it a den of robbers!”
VERSE 18. The chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.
VERSE 19. When evening came, he went out of the city.
SUMMARY: Any Christian believer can theoretically work miracles. In what Jesus says here, we see three elements. They are presented as mandatory, not optional, in order for a miracle to be done.
VERSE 20. As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away from the roots.
VERSE 21. Peter, remembering, said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away.”
Have faith in God. This is the first element of working miracles. Working miracles starts with faith in God. Everything begins with this.
VERSE 23. For most certainly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and doesn’t doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says.
whoever. Any Christian believer can and should be able to work miracles.
Jesus provides three elements in the working of a miracle. They are presented as mandatory, not optional, in order for a miracle to be done:
1. Have faith in God (verse 22).
2. tell. This is a spoken word. It is not spoken to God. Rather, we speak it to the problem. It is a command. In this example, the command is spoken to the mountain itself.
3. believes that what he says is happening. We must believe that the miracle is happening right now. We must really believe it will happen and have no doubt in our heart.
VERSE 24. Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received them, and you shall have them.
VERSE 25. Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions.
VERSE 26. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your transgressions.”
VERSE 27. They came again to Jerusalem, and as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him,
the temple. The Greek word is heirô. It is the same root as in verses 11 and 15 above. It means the temple precincts and not the “hnaos,” or central sanctuary . In other words, Jesus returned to the Court of the Gentiles.
VERSE 28. and they began saying to him, “By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?”
these things. They are referring his purging of the temple the day before.
VERSE 29. Jesus said to them, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
I will ask you one question. Jesus counter-questions them. That was a common Rabbinic debating technique.
VERSE 30. The baptism of John—was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me.”
VERSE 31. They reasoned with themselves, saying, “If we should say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’
VERSE 32. If we should say, ‘From men’ ”—they feared the people, for all held John to really be a prophet.
VERSE 33. They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said to them, “Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
We don’t know. By these words, the religious leaders had attested that they rejected John as a prophet of God.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.