Somebody’s got a case of the Mondays. The swing from Sunday has to be immense. The emotion, the grandeur, the entrance – and now, there is anger, yelling and the tables to overturn in the temple. If Sunday was a day of celebration, Monday is a day of frustration and lament.
First there was that tree.
Mark 11:12-14 (ESV)
On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.
What had it ever done. It’s not like the tree had hurt anyone or done something immoral. What on earth could’ve caused such a response from someone so loving and under control? I’m sure the disciples are wondering – what about that tree could have made Him so angry – where is all this coming from?
But they haven’t seen anything yet. The scene Jesus makes in the temple takes things to a whole new level. It’s unclear if this was the first or second time they’d seen Him do this, but either way, I’m sure the stark contrast to the seemingly joyful and triumphant entry the day before has their heads spinning.
Mark 11:15-19 (ESV)
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.
Sometimes I think you and I could stand to get a little more upset about the injustices being done in our world. The things that keep it from being “right” When we see someone or something not doing what it was intended to, what if it drove us to the type of righteous anger that Jesus showed that Monday. What if it drove us to action, and allowed us to impact the wrongs and turn them into rights? Wouldn’t the world be a better place, if all that was defunct and deficient about this place inspired us to go a little crazy and actually do something about it?
On this Monday, carrying the weight of the world, Jesus got angry. Angry at the sin and selfishness He had come to cure us of. Angry at things not being ‘right.’ Angry at the difference between heaven and earth. His home and these heathens. To some his anger is a sign he is even more unstable than they thought. He must be dealt with, and swiftly. Others are afraid, what else is he capable of? What will He do next?
Monday’s can be hard. This one was no different. But there is something different about this week, the disciples can feel it – the tree, the temple – something is weighing on Him. It is a weight He must carry alone – and He will carry it all the way to the cross.