The Sabbath day before had been a day of excitement and glory for Jesus. He was hailed, the King of the Jews. Though honored as a king, Jesus entered the city in humility on the back of a donkey. On Saturday, they were laying palm branches at His feet and praising Him with loud songs of Hosanna to the King. The next day things started to change. As He entered the temple, a new side of this normally quiet, gentle and peaceful man erupted.
There were thousands of citizens present that day, along with many from outlying areas of the city to celebrate the Passover – the time of remembrance of the Jewish deliverance from their oppressors in Egypt. Every year pilgrims would make the journey to the Holy City to make their sacrifices. The streets were lined with animals, money changers and vendors. It had become a time not only of sacrifice, but one in which to make huge profits. Jesus had seen this the last time He was in Jerusalem.
Merchants of all kinds were within the temple gates – those who sold animals and birds – food vendors – and purveyors of memories for the people to take home with them. When Jesus saw it, He became enraged. The holy house of God was no longer a place to worship, but a huge market place. His face became reddened with anger as He began to turn over the tables. He said to them,
“It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
His anger turned into rage as he dismantled every evil activity from the place. God is definitely a jealous God. He wants our full attention and Jesus was showing those folks that what they were doing was nothing short of idolatry. The leaders of the church weren’t happy about this either, since they would receive a percentage of what the merchants made.
Jesus displayed His anger to show the power of God – to show His humanity – to show His disappointment – to cleanse the temple of all wrongdoing. By so doing, He was opening Himself up for all kinds of questions. Many asked who this man was. What authority did He have to do such a thing? He even referred to His Father as God.
He awoke the next day and was hungry. Yes, the Son of the most high hungered. He was not only God, but God in human flesh – with the same nature of man, but without sin.
He approached a fig tree to gather some fruit for His breakfast, but there was none. He then cursed the tree and it withered before their eyes. The disciples wondered how this could be and Jesus informed them that even they would be able to move mountains with prayer and faith.
The next few days, the Sanhedrin would be a busy place. The power behind the Jewish religion would now begin plans on how to get rid of this heretic. To them Jesus had become a threat to the church and its teachings and He needed to be done away with.