Summary: After praises from the Jerusalemites, Jesus curses the fig tree, which is symbolic of Israel, and then He cleans out the money changers in the Temple. Palm Sunday has a lot to do with purging out dead, fruitless people, and hypocrisy!
The First Palm Sunday and The Purge Kelly Durant
2. How many of you like crime stories? It usually begins with a piece of the evidence in front of you, but all the pieces you have to put together so you understand all of what happened. What led up to the incident? Who are the suspects involved? Often the initial evidence makes you think only one event happened, but later when you piece together all the events, things look quite different. The guilty ones at first might appear as good until we discover the bad things they were doing. Many unexpected things come out!
Today is Palm Sunday and it is a special Sunday celebrated by all Christians worldwide! At first glance praising and palms in the road seems all good, most everyone in Jerusalem was praising Jesus. Isn’t that beautiful? In places where church members cannot get palm branches they use other types of branches, or at least they do a special observance of some kind. Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem was something outstandingly phenomenal and this is why all Christians everywhere keep this tradition alive. It is a way for all Christians to relive the honoring of Jesus as the King of Kings, as the King of Jerusalem (the New Jerusalem), and as the promised Messiah from the linage of David.
Let’s follow the series of events as Mark records it in Chapter 11. There is first the grand arrival into Jerusalem, but then there is fig tree that gets cursed because it does not have any fruit? What does that have to do with anything? Soon we will see.
3. Jesus takes the initiative in preparing His entry as His instructions to his disciples were that they should bring Him a colt not ridden before. It was not customary for pilgrims to going into Jerusalem riding an animal, they generally completed the trip to the temple on foot. But Jesus always did things differently! Zech. 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
Jesus fulfilled all prophetic scripture as He is the King, and the people are jubilant, He rode upon a donkey, and humility and purity were represented. At that time, Jesus knew the messianic significance of his entry and later all could see it for what it was.
The fact that the people shouted, “Hosanna!” or Hoshana (Heb) implies that they knew they were honoring Him as the Lord, as that word of praise was applied for one who would “save”, so they were recognizing His messiahship as the “Savior”! Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!
4. After all that praise and excitement Jesus and his disciples were hungry and you would expect good spirits, right? But they came upon a fig tree that made Jesus mad because the tree was barren, and Jesus cursed it! Why? If you take into account the Old Testament you can discover how the fig tree and bearing fruit is symbolic. Jesus spoke clearly about bearing fruit comparing it to spiritual fruit. We as Christians must have fruit good or we will die dry and cursed. Those connected to Jesus should be as a flourishing vine that produces good grapes, healthy saved souls.
Jesus was letting the world know that Israel in His day was finished; it was as a dried tree yielding no fruit for God. Look up Jeremiah 8:13 “I will surely consume them,” says the Lord. “No grapes shall be on the vine, Nor figs on the fig tree, And the leaf shall fade; And the things I have given them shall pass away from them.” That is a very clear prophecy! Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.”
The O.T. prophets used metaphors to illustrate what God was going to do for or against the nation of Israel. Here Jesus does the same; this event has meaning beyond its face value. When Jesus says to the tree in vs. 14 “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.”, he basically was affirming that no one would ever get fed spiritually ever again by remaining with spiritually barren Israel. Jesus was the new Israel bearing fruit, and Jews, gentiles, and all nations now were the fruit God accepted through Jesus as the Messiah.
5. The destruction of the fig tree is associated with judgment as we find in Hosea 2:12 “I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them.”