Jesus was on His way back to Jerusalem to the temple. He was hungry, but the fig tree had no fruit growing, only leaves. According to Mark 13, the tree was out of season. However, we can't miss the most important meaning here. As Jesus was on His way to the temple where "religious" people were supposed to be worshiping, He came across a tree with leaves that had no fruit. The tree "appeared" to be a healthy thriving tree, yet no fruit. Don't let appearances fool you. Just because someone appears religious doesn't mean they bear the fruit that comes with following Jesus. We can't just talk the talk. Religion without the substance of Jesus inside is meaningless.
We see already on Monday how things begin to change. Although people are still praising Jesus and seeing His miracles and healing powers, holy people are not liking being challenged.
People came from all over to worship at the temple. When people arrived to worship they found merchants and money changers set up in the temple courts. People who had traveled from all over were being taken advantage of. The merchants were selling sacrificial animals at really high prices. The money changers were exchanging currency from foreign to special temple coins, which was the only money the merchants would accept. The travelers who came to worship were being deceived by the inflated currency. The temple was turned from a house of worship to a commercialized market for making a profit.
Jesus had already cleared the temple once (John 2:13-17), so imagine His frustration as He came back to find the same money making practices happening.
He drove all the merchants out of the temple and began to heal people. The people again began to recognize Him as the "Son of David" or the Messiah, and again the religious leaders began to question Him. He reminded the priests and teachers of the law of the words in Psalms 8:2.
Jesus left the temple and left the city to spend the night in Bethany. The lesson we can take away from this ever so important Monday is to put it plainly-don't be a hypocrite. We can't act all holy yet live like the world does. We can't say we are religious yet, have never opened the Bible. We have to walk the walk and bear the fruit whether it is in season or not, whether we are shamed or not, whether we get push back from people or not. We need to follow Jesus and His words, not the rules of men. The only way we can know if the rules of men are rules of God are if we open up His guidebook and read His Word.
As Easter approaches, take the time to examine your heart. Are you following the rules of men or the rules of God? Are you opening the Bible to know the difference?