Jesus prepares for his own suffering and death.... traditionally Palm Sunday.
People spread palm branches out before Jesus during His so called triumphant entry into Jerusalem according to a Messianic prophecy - king is coming on a donkey.
Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
The temple was beautiful... 150 feet tall, 150 feet long, like a 15 story building. Time was one week before a great Jewish feast, people were flooding into Jerusalem, 2 or 3 times the normal population of 30,000.. at least a lakh were present in Jerusalem.
All eyes on Jesus before his arrest and crucifixion starts.
This is a difficult passage - only recorded miracle which results in destruction rather than restoration.
There is a story inside a story.
The fig tree story is interrupted by the clearing of the temple which is fulfillment of Malachi 2:1-3.
1 "And now this admonition is for you, O priests.
2 If you do not listen, and if you do not set your heart to honor my name," says the LORD Almighty, "I will send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not set your heart to honor me.
3 "Because of you I will rebuke your descendants ; I will spread on your faces the offal from your festival sacrifices, and you will be carried off with it.
The gentile court was meant for worship but had been turned into a market place which upset Jesus.
Symbolic and enacted parable - may seem so unreasonable... but there is a reference to an earlier parable mentioned in Luke 13:6-9 about the fruitless fig tree.
6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any.
7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
8 "'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it.
9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.'"
What is so annoying about the figs?
Leaves appear in March and April and the fruits come in June or July. With fully developed leaves, the tree suggested that fruit would be found.
So Jesus approaches the tree hoping to find the fruit. Finds no fruit and responds with righteous anger. Likewise he enters the temple and looks for worship... for spiritual fruit (if any place is going to produce spiritual fruit, this temple certainly would) and finds everything happening apart from worship. And he has righteous anger.
What was he angry about?
Anger at exploitation, anger at the desecration of God's holy place, anger at lack of worship.
How does that reflect our lives?
Professing things in the life without practicing it.
The same way we are disciples and outwardly we behave like disciples. But when it comes to a closer inspection, would Jesus find fruit?
What annoyed Jesus is when he came closer.. he saw something else different.
If Jesus came a little closer to our lives, would Jesus be amazed at us or get upset with us?
We are all dealing with sensitive and shapeable souls. Our children. What would Jesus say if he gets closer and what would that closer inspection reveal about us?
If He had a closer look at our personal lives, our marriage, our parenting and our spirituality, would it be bearing fruit so much so that is should amaze Jesus?
20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.
21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!"
22 "Have faith in God," Jesus answered.
23 "I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
We can't fake two things in our lives - one is lack of prayer life and the other is lack of forgiveness.
Can't put up appearances of prayer with no faith and with no "charity" or mercy in our hearts.
Jesus found prayer "missing" in the "house of prayer".
If Jesus finds forgiveness missing in your life, then so you will not be forgiven.
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.