Jesus proceeds to the “temple area” where again his anger erupts; “He overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.” The next day on passing by the fig tree, Peter says to Jesus, “Rabbi, Look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Why was Peter so surprised? He had witnessed human miracles much greater that this.
What are we to make of these two scenarios?
It appears to have something to do with invitation and expectation
– looking for something and not finding it. The fig tree has
two seasons, however the leaves and the fruit do not appear at the
same time as is true of other fruit bearing trees. The leaves are
in fact an empty invitation to what is not to be found. The temple
at that time was a recognized site of social, commercial and religious
gatherings. Pilgrims, sightseers, merchants, and community faithful
regularly frequented the “temple area.” Even today mid-eastern
temples and medieval European churches are surrounded by local merchants,
souvenir hawkers, and money changers – changing foreign for
local currency. All legal and acceptable, until the poor, ignorant
and defenseless are exploited.
The goodnews of Jesus is found in the closing lines: “Have faith in God.” Jesus says that it is faith in God, belief in God, prayer and forgiveness that will give life and freedom to all. God’s invitation is pure and worthy of our earnest expectations.
We may be duped by nature and we may be duped by man, but never
by God, by God!
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