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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Holy Week, Day 3

Picture this: Jesus goes into Jerusalem with his disciples on Tuesday. They must have left their friend in Bethany's home before breakfast, because when they came to a fig tree he wanted some of that sweet fruit. The tree had not one single ripe fig on it. And not really surprising. It wasn't the season for ripe figs.

This is curious--Jesus cursed the tree, saying no one would eat of its fruit again. Hungry or not, this seems out of character. When they pass by the tree again on their way back to Bethany for he evening, the tree had withered and died.

Of all the stories about Jesus, this one puzzles me the most.

Think about this Day 3. It's late March or early April--quite possibly raining. At the least, it would have been a little cool. The road between Bethany and Jerusalem is well traveled, so people on foot, donkey, or horse would have passed by. A lot of animal sounds, the rustle of harness, greetings and goodbyes from people passing one another. Spring flowers would have dotted the hillsides, some fruit and nut trees might have been blooming, new lambs would have frolicked in the fields. Quite the peaceful scene.

Was it all that peaceful in Jesus's heart? He had to know what His future was, barreling down on Him like a berserk charioteer. Did He give in, just once, to the temptation to take out His frustration on something inanimate?

I don't think so. Out of character. What do you think?