Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem is most often called the “Triumphal Entry.” But really it is the greatest Jewish tragedy in Scripture. The beginning of the end of the nation until restoration. The Pharisees and Sadducees see it as a failure to turn the people against Jesus, John 12:19. His disciples were clueless, John 12:16. It caused Jesus to weep as he rode into the city, Luke 19:41-44. The nation had rejected Him. They did not repent, (return to YHWH), they were unwilling, Matt 23:37-39 . As a nation, they had committed the UNPARDONABLE SIN, Matthew 12:31-32. (No, YOU cannot commit it since it was a National Jewish sin, not a personal one! If you don’t understand come to the GRACE CHALLENGE immediately following Sunday’s service. Pizza provided!!!)
This is a fascinating passage since it contains one of two “destructive miracles” in the Bible, the cursing of the Fig Tree. (The other is PIGS IN THE SEA, Luke 8:33.)
Read though the passage noting on the first day, the ride into Jerusalem, 11:1-11. He goes to the Temple, looks around and heads back to Bethany. Couple of things: Why did he ride in on the donkey? Yes, I know He was fulfilling prophecy but there were practical reasons as well. I will share them with you Sunday. And why just look around and leave?
Now on the second day, 11:12-19, he returns to Jerusalem and on the way curses the fig tree because it had no fruit. Seems a little harsh doesn’t it? After all “it was NOT the season for figs.” What and why was He doing this? They answer is found in John the Baptist’s initial message to Israel, “Repent (return) for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, Matt 3:2. But it goes much farther back into Jewish history. It is founded in Deuteronomy 28-30. There promise of repentance, return is found in Deuteronomy 30:1-3.
John then warned them of a “coming wrath,” Matt 3:7. No, this is not Hell. This wrath would come unless they “brought forth fruit in keeping with repentance,” Matt 3:8. What is “fruit in keeping with repentance?” It is not living a Christian life. (Remember these words are directed to Jews.) But, it is why Jesus curses the fig tree!
After cursing the fig tree he goes back to the temple and has a few things to say to the money changers. The curse on the fig tree was nothing compared to the curse on the financiers. Then they return to Bethany.
The disciples have to wait until the next day to find our the lesson from the fig tree, Mark 11:20-26. And it would be a very valuable lesson for these first disciples.
All this and more on PALM SUNDAY.