The context of Holy Week is a celebration of Passover. Passover started when the Children of Israel were slaves in Egypt (please read Exodus 12). Every Israelite who put blood on their door posts were saved because the angel of death would Passover that house. That meant, the first born in that family was safe. That night, Pharaoh’s son died.
As we walk into Holy Week, we must remember what God was doing. God was about to sacrifice His Son on the cross. God was going to allow Jesus’ body to be crushed and His blood to be shed for us to be saved. Scripture tells us,
God paid a ransom to save you from the impossible road to heaven …with the precious lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. TLB 1 Peter 1:18-20
Jesus’ blood saves us. He is our Passover.
Today is Monday. You can read about what happened in Mark 11:11-19. Verse 11 begins at the end of Palm Sunday.
11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.'” 18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
19 When evening came, they went out of the city. NIV
Two things here. First, Jesus curses the fig tree. If you did a quick read of this story and didn’t see it in context with the rest of the week, you might conclude Jesus had an anger problem. He doesn’t. Actually, Jesus was angry but not in a selfish, ‘I want to get revenge’, kinda anger. Jesus sees the leaves on this fig tree and thinks there is fruit to eat. But the tree had no figs to eat.
Jesus was teaching a lesson to His disciples. Jesus was cursing the kind of life that professes to be good and righteous but when you get close, it offers nothing. Jesus was showing His disciples God’s anger towards the fake person, the hypocrite, the religious that has no heart change.
Second event. Jesus appears angry again. Actually, He is angry but not in a selfish, ‘I want to get revenge’, kinda way. Jesus is flipping tables and disrupting people in the temple. Why? Because the religious leaders turned the Passover event into a money-making event. Passover was supposed to be a celebration of God, repentance and grace. The religious leaders are supposed to be making it easy for everyone to come into the temple and have a God moment. But instead, they turned it into a money-making event.
People were coming from all over Israel to offer tithes and sacrifices. What the religious leaders did was make people buy sacrifices at a much higher than normal price. They created a temple currency so that people had to exchange their money, you guessed it, at a much higher rate. They were ripping people off.
Just real fast, hearing that, don’t you feel like something is wrong with that? Doesn’t that make you feel anger inside? Exactly. That anger you feel isn’t a selfish anger, it’s what we call a righteous anger.
For the second time today, Jesus was showing His disciples God’s anger towards the fake person, the hypocrite, the religious that makes is hard to experience God’s grace.
In day one of Passover, what do you think Jesus was up to?
What is Jesus teaching you as you read this scripture?
What is your religion like? Is it real?
As we close out for today, remember, everything Jesus went through He went through for you. Everything Jesus went through He went through willingly. And everything Jesus went through, His sacrifice, changed everything for you.