By Rotimi Kehinde
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves (Matthew 21:12, NIV).
You could say Jesus had an interesting Monday. First, He and His disciples had seen a fig tree in the distance. They hungrily hurried towards it only to discover that it had no fruit. Imagine their disappointment. Jesus had a lesson in mind and even more significantly, a symbol. He cursed the tree.
Bible scholars believe that the fig tree represented the people of Israel, who observed the religious rites and traditions, yet their hearts were far from God. It was a symbol of the religious leaders who knew Scripture but had not accepted the God of the scriptures. They produced no fruit.
It’s possible to come to church, to hang around church people, to sing the songs and say the words but not have a personal relationship with Jesus. It is a personal relationship with Jesus that causes you to be fruitful.
Then Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father takes care of the vineyard. He removes every one of my branches that doesn’t produce fruit. He also prunes every branch that does produce fruit to make it produce more fruit (John 15:1-2).
After this, Jesus proceeded to the temple and His day got even crazier.
It surely would have made the headlines. Here was Jesus, in the temple, overturning tables and chairs, and driving the people that had set up their shops out. He kicked out the money lenders and those who had made it their custom to rip people off by selling animals for the sacrifice or changing currencies at exorbitant rates. He said, “My house was designated a house of prayer; You have made it a hangout for thieves” (Matthew 21:13).
What a powerful symbol on the week that would end with his death. Mondays are usually our busiest days. It’s the “dreaded” day that pulls so much from us as we jump into our most important tasks and projects. Jesus was making a statement about His priorities. After He cleared the Temple, “now the blind and crippled came to him, and he healed them there in the Temple” (Matthew 21:14).
The people who had come to the Temple really needing help were being ignored. The blind, the crippled, and the hurting couldn’t get in and come closer to the One who could heal them. So Jesus removed the obstacles in their path. The question for us today is: What is our priority?
Later that night, Jesus returned to Bethany to get some sleep and respite from His manic Monday. From the fig tree to the Temple, just four days before His death, Jesus wove a trail of truth to guide us into knowing:
- God wants you to go beyond religion into relationship. (Isaiah 29:13)
- God wants you to be fruitful. (John 15:4-5)
- God is passionate about those who seek him in truth and he wants you to come just as you are. (Jeremiah 29:13)
- Everyone has a place at God’s table. (2 Peter 3:9)
- Our priorities should be God and his kingdom first. (Matthew 6:33)
Prayer: Pray that God will open your eyes and your heart to a real relationship with him. Ask for grace to seek first His kingdom and to empower you to be fruitful.