The next day when they came out from Bethany, He was hungry. After seeing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, He went to find out if there was anything on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!” And His disciples heard it. Early in the morning, as they were passing by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. Then Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed is withered.” Jesus replied to them, “Have faith in God. 23 I assure you: If anyone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 Therefore I tell you, all the things you pray and ask for—believe that you have received them, and you will have them. 25 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing. [26 But if you don’t forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your wrongdoing.]” — Mark 11:12-14,20-26
Holy Monday is the second day of Holy Week, right after Palm Sunday. It is often forgotten but incredibly important.
While walking from Bethany to Jerusalem, Jesus saw a fig tree with no fruit. He cursed the fig tree, which immediately withered. Jesus told the disciples that if they had enough faith, they could not only tell a fig tree to wither, they could tell mountains to move.
Jesus also showed his righteous anger when he entered into the temple and found it being used for things which did not honor God.
There are many important things to observe about Holy Monday, but two are particularly important.
First, Holy Monday set up the events which happened on Maundy Thursday. By clearing the temple, Jesus criticized the leaders who allowed and promoted the deeds happening in the temple. The religious leaders had been concerned about Jesus before this, but his actions on Holy Monday and Holy Tuesday clinched it: they wanted him dead.
Second, Jesus describes these teachings and parables as being about the kingdom of God. God will offer the kingdom to unexpected people, and when the kingdom arrives in full there will be judgment.
The parable of the two sons, the evil farm tenants, and the great feast all deal with God offering the kingdom to people and varying responses, which results in God offering it to others. The son who initially does not obey the father is ultimately honored for doing what he’s asked in the end, and Jesus ends it by telling the religious leaders, “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of Heaven before you do”.
Jesus wasted no time on that Monday telling those around him that things were about to change. He knew that his entrance into Jerusalem was noticed but now he was targeted. But his mission was clear. Prepare humankind for the kingdom of God.
And the mission remains the same today. We cannot be prepared for the coming kingdom if we don’t put our full self into the hands of God by way of Jesus Christ.
Jesus knew the cross was looming. And even in his final days, his entire focus was saving you from eternal death. Isn’t it time you said yes to Jesus? He has made the way clear for you.