The Monday

On the Monday morning, He woke in Bethany. It was where He would retire to again that night and also on the Tuesday and the Wednesday. It was a short distance from Jerusalem, but it was far enough away to provide safety during the evenings until the appointed time came.

We cannot be sure about the exact movements He made over the next few days, but we can be certain of one thing: He was busy. And so were His enemies.

Luke recorded that He spent the next days teaching in the Temple and that the people came early to hear Him. And that meant He walked each morning into the city and returned each evening.

During His Monday morning journey to Jerusalem, He showed a very human trait: hunger. In the distance was a fig tree. However, when He approached close to it, He found no fruit, just leaves.

Mark observed that this was not surprising: it was not the time for figs.

But that did not stop Him from cursing the tree.

Matthew writes that the divine Roundup took immediate effect. The fig tree withered before their eyes. And the next morning Peter pointed out the remains of the tree, exclaiming that His curse had taken its devastating effect.

If we exchange ourselves in place of that tree, would we find only showy leaves? Or would we bear fruit able to satisfy God? It’s an important consideration. For when He comes for the harvest, an immediate and final judgment will be rendered. Excuses will not be accepted. We must always bear fruit.

The withered fig tree is an important sign. Life is not a game. The consequences are serious.

The twelve all saw the devastating effect of His curse. But He did not talk about that. Instead, He spoke about faith in God. He said it could move mountains.

Here we have a stark example of the contrasting power of God and an insight into His ways.

One the one hand, He exhorts us to have complete confidence in Him and His power to provide and protect. It was not accompanied by a positive manifestation of divine power. The message is clear: that won’t be given freely. We must have the confidence to ask for help. And to do that necessarily entails acknowledging our status as a creature of the Creator.

But on the other, He showed the withering result of the failure to please God.  It is the difference between life and death. That was made crystal clear by what happened to the tree.

Then He went to the Temple to teach.

That was the Monday.

Fig tree

See also in this series:

*****

I have relied heavily on Guiseppe Ricciotti’s book, Life of Christ, for this article. It was translated by Alba I. Zizzamia and published by the Mercier Press, Ireland in 1955. It carries the imprimatur of the Archbishop of Milwaukee, Moses Kiley, dated 6 February, 1952.

Author: Bernard Gaynor

Bernard Gaynor is a married father of seven children. He has a background in military intelligence, Arabic language and culture and is an outspoken advocate of conservative and family values.

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