When the crowds herald Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, we didn't realize he would be crucified in just a few days. Jesus makes quite a scene when he chases the money-changers out of the temple.
As we were approaching Jerusalem, Jesus sent two of his disciples on ahead to the villages of Bethphage and Bethany, close by the Mount of Olives. He told them, “Go into that village just ahead of you and as you enter, you will see a young donkey that’s never been ridden. It will be tethered, so untie it and bring it to me. Should any one ask you what you are doing, just say, ‘The colt is needed for God’s service and will be sent back as soon as possible.’”
So the two disciples went into the village and found the colt tied up outside a house. As they were untying the colt, some bystanders questioned, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”
The disciples told them what Jesus had said (“It is needed for God’s service”), so the locals let them go ahead. When the disciples returned to Jesus they saddled the colt with their own garments and Jesus mounted it. Many in the crowd took off their cloaks and spread them out on the road. Others did the same with leafy branches they had cut in the fields. As Jesus rode toward Jerusalem, the crowd kept shouting, “Praise be to God! Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Praise be to God!” (1-10)
When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he went to the temple and looked around carefully at everything. Since it was already late, we all returned to the town of Bethany.
The following day on our way to Jerusalem, Jesus became hungry. In the distance he saw a fig tree in leaf so he went to see if it had any fruit. Since it was still early in the season, the tree had produced nothing but leaves. In response, Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat figs from you again!” We took note of what our Teacher said. (11-14)
Once back in Jerusalem, Jesus went immediately to the temple area and began to drive out those who were buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money-changers. He scattered the stools of the dove- sellers. No one was to use the temple courtyard as a marketplace. Jesus told the people, “In Scripture it is written, ‘My Temple is to be a house of prayer for all, but you have turned it into a place for thieves to prosper!” When the ruling priests and teachers of religious law heard about this, they began to lay final plans on how to get rid of Jesus. They were afraid of him because everybody was fascinated by his teaching.
That evening we all went back out to Bethany. The next morning on our way back to Jerusalem we saw the fig tree that Jesus had cursed. It was completely dead. I remembered what Jesus had done and exclaimed, “Look, Rabbi! The fig tree you cursed is all withered up.”
Jesus said to us, “Have faith in God. Believe me when I tell you that if anyone should say to this mountain, ‘Get up and be thrown in the sea,’ it will happen. However, if that person has any doubt in his heart, it will not happen. That’s why I tell you that whenever you pray for something, believe that your prayer is already answered, and sure enough, it will be. But when you stand to pray (as custom has it), you must forgive any grudge you hold against another so that your heavenly Father may forgive all the wrongs you have done.” (15-26)
Upon entering Jerusalem we went to the temple area where, as we were walking around, Jesus was approached by a group of ruling priests, teachers of religious law and elders. “By whose authority are you doing all this?” they demanded. “Who gave you permission to teach in this sacred place?”
Jesus told them, “I will ask you a simple question. If you will answer it, I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Who gave John the right to baptize? Was it God or some group of people? Tell me!”
They reasoned among themselves, “If we say that John’s authority came from God, he will ask why we refused to believe him. But if we say it came from a human source …?” (They were afraid of what the crowd might do because everyone believed that John was a true prophet.) (27-33)