Starting in this chapter, we begin to look at the last week of Jesus’ earthly life. It begins with what has been know as “The Triumphal Entry.” This is Sunday of the week Jesus will be crucified. Jesus sends two disciples to a village with very specific instructions to get a donkey for Jesus to ride and it goes just as they were told. The put blankets on the donkey and Jesus rides it into Jerusalem. As he does, people are laying palm branches & clothing on the path and shouting “Hosanna” – which means “save us.” Maybe they recognized that He was fulfilling Zechariah 9:9. Whether they believed or not is up for grabs, because by Thursday, many of these same were shouting “crucify him.”
Jesus first act of business – curse a tree (because it wasn’t fulfilling it’s purpose) and then address the money-making schemes going on in the “temple’ = His house! People were getting scammed and in God’s house! This ticked off Jesus and “He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.” Ohh, and as they go by the fig tree later they notice it had withered. Jesus basically tells them they just need faith to believe!
Finally, Jesus’ authority is again questioned and, again, Jesus answers their question with a question: "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John's baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!" Duph – the religious peeps had to be thinking “He’s got us! “If we say, ‘From heaven, he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men…” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus’s reply? “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things."
*The temple in Jesus day represented the dwelling place of the Lord. Today, God lives in people by His Holy Spirit because WE are now His temple! With that said, how are we treating God’s temple? Whenever we live for anything other than God, we too abuse His temple. We can also abuse it by not taking care of it: overeating, not exercising, smoking, drug abuse, pornography, etc… What are you doing to take care of God’s dwelling? Are we feeding ourselves spiritually as much as physically? Make time to take care of His temple!
*PS – After reading this chapter, it would be wise to never try to outwit Jesus!