This was the last day of Jesus’ public ministry and His last day in the Temple. Early that morning, Jesus and His disciples went to Jerusalem from Bethany. They returned to Bethany late that night. Some scholars refer to this as the day of controversy and others as the day of rejection. It was both.

  • They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus spoke to His companions about the importance of faith. The fig tree represented the barrenness of Jerusalem.

Fig tree withered Matt. 21:20-22; Mark 11:20-26.

  • At the Temple, the religious leaders were furious with Jesus for establishing Himself as a spiritual authority. They did not want to have a true theological debate with Him. They organized an ambush with the intent to place Him under arrest, with an offense punishable by death. They planned to entrap Him with questions about tribute to Caesar (give to Caesar things which belong to him, give to God what belongs to Him), the Resurrection (life in heaven is not the same as life on earth, not a continuation of this life), and the greatest commandment (Deut. 6:5 – love God with all your heart, soul, and might, and Lev. 19:18 – love your neighbor as yourself). These leaders will be linked forever with pride, hypocrisy, hate, manipulation, and being the killers of the Son of God.

Jesus’ authority is challenged Matt. 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33; Luke 20:1-8.

Questions by Jewish authorities Matt. 22:15-40; Mark 12:13-34; Luke 20:20-40

  • Jesus teaches in parables. All three of these parables indict the Jewish leaders. In the parable of the two sons, the Jewish leaders represent the unsatisfactory son, who did not do his father’s will. They are the wicked vinedressers (farmers) in the next parable. And lastly, they are the condemned guests at the king’s feast.

Of two sons Matt. 21:28-32
Vineyard of the wicked ‘vinedressers’ Matt. 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19
Marriage of king’s son Matt. 22:1-14

  • Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, and denounced the scribes and Pharisees (eight “woes”). Our lives should direct people to God, not to us personally.

Matt. 22:41-46; Matt. 23:1-39

Mark 12:35-40

Luke 20:41-44; Luke 20:45-47

  • Later that afternoon, Jesus left the city and went privately with His disciples to the Mount of Olives, which sits due east of the Temple and overlooks Jerusalem. Jesus gave them the Olivet Discourse, a vastly misunderstood prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age (as it relates to the Jews). He speaks in parables warning about the importance of watchfulness, action, and uses symbolic language about the end times events, including His Second Coming and the Last Judgment. Use the talents (knowledge) the Lord has given you.

Matt. 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21; John 12:20-50

  • After a long day of confrontation and warnings, Jesus and the disciples returned to Bethany to stay the night.