Tuesday begins with a lesson from the cursed fig tree. The disciples notice that the fig tree which Jesus cursed has withered to its roots. Jesus tells His disciples to have faith in God and that when they pray they are to believe, that they have already received and it will be theirs, but as they pray they must always forgive those who have sinned against them so that their Father who is in heaven will forgive them of their trespasses. The lesson, is that disciples should pray in such a way where they are trusting God to remove anything that gets in the way of them producing spiritual fruit.
The Authority of Jesus Challenged
When the chief priests, the scribes and the elders came to challenge Jesus, asking Him by what authority does He do the things which He is doing. Jesus has a question of His own, He says “was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? answer me”. In other words, by what authority does John do what he does, is it from man or is it from God? If they say from God, then what reason do they have for not listening to John when he speaks about Jesus, such as when he said: “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. If they say that John’s authority came from man, they risk an uprising, for they knew that crowds of people believed that John was a prophet sent from God.
Following this Jesus tells a parable, it is both a history lesson and a prediction. The landlord expects fruit from his vineyard and so he sends his servants to receive what is rightfully his. But the tenants took these servants, beat them and sent them away empty-handed. The landlord sent his son because the son would receive more respect than the servants, but when the son came they killed him. When Jesus told this parable they (the chief priests, the scribes and the elders) knew it was about them, it was Israel’s history and how they treated the prophets God sent to them and how they will kill God the son. But the stone (Jesus) that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
When the Herodians come to Jesus having been sent by the Pharisees, they seek to trap Him in his talk. They begin with flattery, they say that Jesus always speaks the truth and is not swayed by human opinion. They ask Him “is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?” Jesus asks for a coin to be brought to Him, He asks whose image in on the coin, they say “Caesar’s”, Jesus responds, then give to Caesar that which belongs to Caesar and render to God that which belongs to God. In other words, give to Caesar whatever Caesar has got his image on, and make sure you give to God whatever God has got His image on. They are made in the image of God but like the temple having no prayer, the Fig tree no fruit and the tenants of the vineyard not wanting to give what belongs to the landlord, all of this in many ways is summarised by them not rendering to God that which God has His image on. Since we are made in God’s image everything we have and are belongs to God.
Jesus deals with the Sadducees, by telling them that they neither know the scriptures nor the power of God and when the evening came Jesus moved with His disciples to the Mount of Olives. While He is there His disciples ask him about the future and the destruction of the Temple. As we know the curtain in the temple is torn from top to bottom, when the perfect and final sacrifice for sin has been made in the Lord Jesus upon the cross and the temple itself would be fully destroyed in Ad70.
The lesson about the servants who are left in change and are to stay awake and wait for the master’s return (Mark 13:32-36). This is to highlight that no person knows the day or the hour other than the Father concerning when Christ will return.
Fig tree: Matt 21:20-21; Mark 11:20-26
Temple: Matt 21:23 – Chapter 23:39; Mark 11:27-Chapter 12:44; Luke 20:1-Chapter 21:4
Future: Matt chapters 24-25; Mark 13:1-37; Luke 21:5-35