Monday of Holy Week

Rev. Steve Boutell   -  

Read Mark 11:12-19 which lays out the events that happened on Monday of Holy Week.

Sometimes when we read this passage about the Monday of Holy Week it is easy to get hung up on all the stuff about the cursing of the fig tree. It is a weird story that you have to study in-depth and know about the growing seasons of Jesus’ day to even begin to understand.

But the events we usually associate with the Monday of Holy Week happened in the second half of this reading. Jesus driving out the people from the Temple who were buying and selling. How he knocked over the tables of the moneychangers and stopped them from using the Temple as a marketplace.

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.

MARK 11:15-16 (NRSV)

It’s always interesting to me that if you look back just a few verses in Mark’s Gospel you see that at the end of Palm Sunday Jesus goes into the temple and looks around.

11 Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

MARK 11:13 (NRSV)

It was late, almost as if there was not enough time to teach them a lesson on Sunday. He goes back to Bethany with his disciples and then he comes back on Monday.

A lot of times this story of overturning the money changers is used to show that even Jesus got angry so its ok for us to get angry.

The problem is that when I get angry its almost always a quick emotional reaction to what’s happening right now. Jesus went back to Bethany, probably to the home of Mary, Martha, & Lazarus, and slept on it for a while.

When Jesus came back to Jerusalem on Monday, what he saw in the Temple still upset him. It was worth getting angry over.

How much better would our relationships be if you didn’t fly off the handle when something upset you but waited to see if it was really worth getting angry about.

I try to ask myself 3 questions about a situation when I am getting upset by something.

  1. Is it going to help someone know Jesus?
  2. Is it going to change the world?
  3. Is it going to matter tomorrow?

Notice I said, “I try to ask myself3 questions.” I don’t always succeed. I often fail. But most of the time, after I have calmed down, what I was so angry about didn’t rise to a positive answer to any of these questions.

So let’s ask these 3 questions of Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers in Mark 11:12-29.

  1. Is it going to help someone know Jesus? This story was told by the gospel writers because it showed those of us who read it a bit more about who Jesus was. Jesus is concerned about the things that happen in his church.
  2. Is it going to change the world? Jesus understood that something needed to change.

17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”

MARK 11:17 (NRSV)

  1. Is it going to matter tomorrow? It matters to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day because we get a glimpse at their response.

And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching

MARK 11:18 (NRSV)

Their reaction influenced the events of Holy Week.

The question of whether matters for our tomorrow is left up to us!

19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

MARK 11:19 (NRSV)

Ask yourself important questions during this Holy Week.

We will see you tomorrow.

Pastor Steve