71. Jesus Clears the Temple.
The fig tree incident symbolized the people who had not produced the fruit of good works; the hunger of Jesus not being satisfied he took his frustration out on the tree.
In Jerusalem that day he demonstrated his most severe anger and violence as he drove the animals out of the temple, made a shambles of the bankers' money, and forcibly halted all business procedures. He was extremely frustrated that God's house for prayer had been appropriated by greedy profiteers and made big business through the sacrifice of animals. The consciousness in the temple was dominated by materialistic values so that spirituality could hardly breathe. How could he teach in that atmosphere? Again prophecy foretold that zeal for God's house would consume him by engulfing his consciousness and leading to his destruction. What would such a person feel if he saw our materialistic society of today?!
Jesus ambiguously declared that the temple would be destroyed and that he would rebuild it in three days. The Jews were thinking of the temple of stone, but Jesus was referring to his body and implying that our body is the only temple in which we need to pray. Having altered the environment Jesus began to teach the many people who listened to him.
The next morning they noticed that the life in the fig tree had departed. Jesus used it as a demonstration of the effectiveness of prayer in faith without doubt; one must believe and trust to God that it will happen. Again he emphasized the need to forgive others when praying so that God will forgive us; otherwise these things will block the effectiveness of our prayer.