Today, on the way in to Jerusalem for the third time, Jesus and his companions pass the fig tree which appears to have withered.
In the city he spends the day teaching in the Temple where the wary chief priests asked him, without direct success, by what authority he acted and spoke. But he attempts speaking to them in parables. The parable of the tenant farmers is an attack on the Jewish authorities which they recognise although they fail to heed the warning about killing the son.
At this time he deals with the trick question from the Pharisees who ask whether they should pay taxes to Caesar. Holding up a coin he says: ‘Pay Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and God what belongs to God.’ This is the quotation used today by Christians when they have to disobey a law which goes against Christian teaching.
He also points out the old lady putting two small value coins in the collecting box saying: ‘This poor widow has put more in than all who have contributed to the treasury; for they have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in everything she possessed, all she had to live on.’
Among visitors to the Temple are some Greeks who ask to meet Jesus. This both harks back to the visit of the Three Kings of several nations in Bethlehem and looks to the mission of the about to be formed church which will involve many nationalities.
Later, Jesus sits on the Mount of Olives with Peter, James, John and Andrew, who ask what is going to happen. Jesus’s long discourse mentions the fig tree and likens a bud indicating the approach of summer to the signs that the Kingdom of God is near.
In the evening the party almost certainly returns to Bethany.
*Matthew 26.1-13; Mark 11.20-13.37; Luke 19.47-21.38;