Fig Tree & Temple

April 11, 2017 by Jong Park

Today is Passion Week Monday. Two events stand out from that day: the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple.

First, the fig tree:

Matthew 21:18-19 [18] In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. [19] And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

Jesus is very upset at the fig tree and ends up cursing it. Why such anger against a mere tree? It’s symbolic, of course, “for the judgment of God upon a nation that has the outward appearance of life but fails to bear fruit.” (Köstenberger and Taylor, The Final Days of Jesus)

The second event is the cleansing of the temple:

Luke 19:45-46 [45] And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, [46] saying to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers.”

It seems to me that by going into the temple, Jesus is going inside the rotten tree. In this tree, he finds major decay. There’s no prayer, only robbers.  So Jesus goes to work and starts to cleanse it. He is not timid to overturn tables and our hearts. Motivated by love, He sweeps ferociously, his eyes barely dry from weeping passionately the day before.

After cleaning the dead tree, what does he do? He pours his sap into it. If the sap is the blood of a tree, His word is the blood of the church.

Luke 19:47-48 [47] And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people were seeking to destroy him, [48] but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were hanging on his words.

Lord, take our dead hearts and cleanse the decay within. Make us live again with the filling of the Word of God by the Spirit of God for obedience to God.


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