Tuesday - Three days. Some people entering Jerusalem today commented on an oddly withered fig tree. Was this Jesus fellow responsible? His teachings today in the Temple! Most present had never heard such clarity in teachings. Jesus spoke in ways that related to them, ways that they could easily understand!
On the way to the temple, the disciples noticed that the fig tree Jesus had cursed the previous day had already withered. They were surprised that it had happened so quickly. The fig tree was again serving as a physical parable. The fig tree, which stood for Israel, had rapidly withered and been destroyed, just as Israel would be destroyed in approximately 40 years time. In AD 70, future Roman emperor Titus, along with his second-in-command Tiberius Julius Alexander seized and conquered Jerusalem, the holy city of Israel, and destroyed the temple of the Lord.
Jesus and his disciples arrived in the city and went to the temple, where Jesus began to preach. His actions caused religious leaders to question by whose authority did He do such things? Jesus agreed to answer their question, but only if they first answered His. Jesus knew that they would not answer His question, nor would they be willing to acknowledge from where His authority came.
Jesus continues to teach, telling several parables. Parables are stories with a lesson attached to them. Jesus was teaching to people who were, mostly unable to read or write. Very little was recorded outside of government. By teaching in this way, people were more likely to remember the lesson. It also got people talking and thinking! Jesus did not expressly tell the crowds the meaning of the parable; it was for them to figure out! The parables were built on common and well-known activities which would resonate with the listener. Jesus was preaching to the common person and did so in a way that would be entertaining, familiar, and easily remembered so that they could be shared with others.
The parables were also used to avoid getting into trouble with the Sandhedrin, the executive, legislative, and judicial branch of the Jewish government. Frequently in His parables, Jesus would not portray the religious leaders of the day in the best light. He called them out on their false actions and refusal to accept God's blessing and His Son. Jesus' teaching infuriated the Pharisees because Jesus was upsetting the status quo. Jesus had also managed to avoid being trapped by their various questions, making them look unwise.
This day was no different. In a debate over whose son is the Christ, Jesus was able to silence the Pharisees, for they could not say anything else, without acknowledging the truth of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not finished though. He continued to teach to any who would listen, before returning to Bethany.
The time of Jesus’ death is rapidly approaching, yet He is not finished teaching. He must prepare the disciples must be prepared to carry on after His death. The people need to be told the truth, even if they do not yet understand. Until the end, He will continue to teach all who are willing to listen.