Passion Week: Day 3 (Tuesday)

Mark has Jesus retracing this morning the same route He took yesterday morning from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem (11:20). They passed the same tree that looked healthy and strong yesterday – just no figs. Today that tree was completely dried up – from top to bottom. 

Remembering yesterday’s events, Peter commented on how quickly it had completely dried up. I’m certain this teachable moment was not an “off the cuff” thought from Jesus – but simply the conclusion of a life lesson He began teaching yesterday about looking fine but being fruitless.   

Using this tree illustration, He goes on to discuss faith, prayer and forgiveness with the disciples as they traveled the road to Jerusalem. Once there, Jesus again enters the Temple compound and has the inevitable run-in with the chief priests, scribes and elders whom He embarrassed with the house-cleaning yesterday.

Mark goes on to describe a full day of interaction for Jesus in the Temple compound, including: the Pharisees and Herodians (12:13) who tried to trap him in a discussion about the legitimacy of Jews paying taxes to the Romans; the Saducees (12:18) arguing about the truth of the resurrection (which they didn’t believe); a sincere scribe (12:28) asking about the Greatest Commandment; and the widow with her “mite” (12:41).

Upon leaving the Temple (13:1), Jesus met privately with His disciples and they commented about the massive and beautiful structures on the Temple Mount. He responds with a startling statement that the day was coming when not two stones would be left standing together on that Temple Mount. He then adds prophetic understanding about when and how this would happen. Jesus finishes His discourse with this admonition “to all, ‘watch’” (13:37) which also ends the chapter and Passion Week’s Tuesday activities.

One Day at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Deputy Director