Christians just celebrated Palm Sunday, the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, fulfilling messianic prophecies such as Daniel 9 and Zechariah 9:9. It was the start of the most important week in all of human history…the one that led to Christ’s crucifixion and His ultimate victory over death when He was raised again! We’ll celebrate that resurrection event this coming weekend, but first let’s walk where Jesus walked in those days of Passion Week.
Mark 11-13 recounts the events of the days that followed Jesus’s Triumphal Entry that original Palm Sunday. We’re told that “on the next day,” (Mark 11:12) Jesus cursed a fig tree, then returned to the temple to drive out money changers. You see, the court of the Gentiles was filled with merchants seeking to hawk their wares in the only place at the temple where Gentiles were allowed to worship. This practice angered Jesus and He re-claimed the space for Gentile worship. The chief priests and scribes, however, began seeking how to destroy Him. (Mark 11:18)
Mark goes on in the next few verses to tell us that on Tuesday morning, on their way back to Jerusalem, Jesus used the cursed fig tree to trigger conversation with His disciples regarding faith. As soon as they reached Jerusalem, though, the priests, scribes and elders began questioning Jesus’s authority. He addressed their questions in direct teaching and parables. (Mark 11:27 – 12:44)
Jesus then left the temple, taking time to teach His disciples about the last days. (Mark 13, Matthew 24) He accurately prophesied that the temple would be totally destroyed (which it was in 70 AD), then told the disciples of nation against nation, wars and rumors of wars, famines and earthquakes. Those prophecies are soon to occur as the end time comes upon us.
Indeed, this was a week that changed history. Jesus had arrived as Israel’s Messiah, yet they simply did not recognize Him. The wheels were already turning in the hearts and minds of priests, scribes and religious leaders. By week’s end, the Savior of the world would be crucified and the Jews will have missed the time of His visitation. The Bible teaches us that God had a plan for the Gentiles, and He initiated that plan when He offered His Son as a sacrifice. Without that sacrifice we would be dead in our sins and trespasses. Praise God for His incredible plan of salvation!