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The Last Week: Monday (2 of 8)
Series: The Last Week of Jesus' Life
It's Monday, the day after Jesus had entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Jesus and his disciples leave Bethany heading once again into Jerusalem. Jesus is hungry and he sees in the distance "a fig tree in leaf" that appears like it should have some fruit on it, but when he gets closer he realizes that there is "nothing but leaves" (v.13). He pronounces a curse upon the fig tree, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again" (v.14). The disciples are there and they hear this (v.15), probably wondering what's going on.
Next follows what we traditionally call the cleansing of the temple (11:15-19). When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem he "entered the temple area" (v.15). It's helpful if we can visualize the layout of the temple area. There are two words for temple in the New Testament. One is "hieron," which means "sacred place." This included the whole temple area which covered the top of Mount Zion and covered about 30 acres. There was an outer space called The Court of Gentiles. Into it anyone, Jew or Gentile could come. The next court was The Court of Women. It was called this because unless a woman had come to offer sacrifice she could not go any further. Next was The Court of the Israelites. In this area the congregation gathered on great occasions. From here the offerings were handed by the worshipers to the priests. The inmost court was called The Court of the Priests.
The other important word for temple is "naos," which means The Temple Proper, and it was in the Court of the Priests that the temple, the holy of holies stood. The whole area including all the different courts, was the temple area. The special building within the Court of the Priests was the temple (naos), the holy of holies. This incident took place in the Court of the Gentiles. Upon entering the temple courts Jesus drove out the buyers and sellers and overturned the table ...
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