Jesus entered Jerusalem and came into the temple; and after looking around at everything, He left for Bethany with the twelve, since it was already late. On the next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing at a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if perhaps He would find anything on it; and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples were listening. Mark 11:11-14

Today’s thoughts from today’s verses:

The Sunday before Easter has become known as Palm Sunday. It finds its roots in yesterday’s passage which gave us the account of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem which we call the “triumphal entry.” Today’s passage begins, with the simple words, “Jesus entered Jerusalem.” With the celebratory procession of the people, Jesus has already entered Jerusalem in the sense that he has arrived and passed through the entrance gate. But now with his royal welcome completed, Jesus enters Jerusalem in the sense that he goes on into the heart of the city. Jesus’ encounter with Jerusalem at this point is very brief. It consists of Jesus going into the temple, looking around at everything, and then leaving with the twelve to go back to Bethany.

This is a powerful moment for Jesus that we must not miss. Jesus’ heart is filled with all that “his people” could be but with his eyes he instantly and fully takes in all that “his people” are not. We will see Jesus’ return to the temple in tomorrow’s Devotional and you can be sure that his “looking around at everything” on his first visit has everything to do with his explosive actions on his second visit. Today’s passage goes on to tell us about something that happens in between his two visits to the temple. Read again about Jesus cursing the fig tree in today’s passage. What at first seems obscure and strange, becomes a little clearer to us. The cursing of the fig tree is more than an object lesson, it is an indictment against “his people.” God called Israel to be his people so that they might become a spiritually fruitful people but instead they were unfruitful (See Isaiah 5:1-7 and Mark 12:1-11). 

Today’s prayer response from today’s thoughts:

Lord, I can only imagine what it was like for you to look upon Jerusalem and the temple and see how far removed your people were from you and all the beautiful intentions you had for them. I pray for myself and for your people everywhere, that we would let you draw us close so that we would bear fruit that lasts. May the desires of your heart be fulfilled in me and your people everywhere. Amen!