Palm Sunday was the day when Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messiah, riding on a donkey and receiving the praises of the people who shouted "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (Matthew 21:9). It was a day of joy and celebration, but also a day of tension and conflict, as the religious leaders were jealous and angry at Jesus and his popularity.
The next day, Jesus returned to Jerusalem with his disciples. On his way, he saw a fig tree that had no fruit, even though it was not the season for figs. He cursed the fig tree, saying, "May you never bear fruit again!" (Matthew 21:19). This may seem like a harsh act, but it was actually a symbolic gesture that showed God's judgment on the unfruitful and hypocritical religious system of Israel. Jesus was looking for faith and repentance, but he found only empty rituals and traditions.
Now that the shouting of Palm Sunday is passed, Jesus returns to Jerusalem and heads to the Temple. Here he makes friends and enemies, as he cleans the house.
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” 11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” 12 Jesus entered the temple area 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. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. 16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?” 17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night. Matthew 21:10-17 (NIV)
Jesus was outraged by what he saw when he arrived at the temple. The temple was supposed to be a house of prayer, but it had become a den of thieves. Money changers and merchants exploited the people and profaned from God's holy place. Jesus drove them out with a whip, overturning their tables and chairs, and saying, "My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers!" (Matthew 21:13). This was a bold and courageous act that challenged the authority and corruption of the religious leaders, who were plotting to kill him.
After cleansing the temple, Jesus healed the blind and the lame who came to him. He also received the praise of the children who shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" (Matthew 21:15). This fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 8:2, which says, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise." The religious leaders were indignant and asked Jesus if he heard what they were saying. Jesus replied, "Yes, have you never read, 'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" (Matthew 21:16). Jesus affirmed his messianic identity and authority and silenced his critics with Scripture.
Holy Monday was a day of confrontation, and controversy but also a day of compassion and healing. It was a day when Jesus showed his power and passion for God's glory and people's salvation. It was a day that prepared him for the Holy Week events when he faced betrayal, arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection.
What can we learn from Holy Monday? We can learn to examine our own hearts and lives and see if we are bearing fruit for God. Are we living in faith and obedience or in hypocrisy and rebellion? Are we honoring God with our worship and service or dishonoring him with our greed and selfishness? Are we praising Jesus as our Lord and Savior or rejecting him as our enemy?
Let us pray that God would help us to be fruitful followers of Jesus, who love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and who glorify him with our words and deeds. Let us also pray that God would give us the courage and wisdom to stand up for his truth and justice in a hostile world. And let us remember that Jesus loves us so much that he gave his life for us on the cross so that we could have forgiveness and eternal life.
Come back tomorrow for our post on Holy Tuesday! - Please share this journey with a friend as we draw near to Christ and His Cross and Tomb.
Feel free to leave your comments or questions below. God bless you!
<>< Pastor Craig