After an emotional entrance to Jerusalem yesterday, Jesus stayed at his friends house in Bethany. Remember Mary, Martha and Lazarus? Yes, the Lazarus who was raised from the dead possibly even days ago! This is who Jesus stayed with. And now it’s the morning – Monday. Jesus and the disciples head out back towards Jerusalem again. Jesus sees a fig tree in the distance that looks healthy. He walks to it and seeing that it has no figs on it, he curses it! Why?
At least for this year when I asked the kids why, they don’t know… so I’m going to leave them hanging until tomorrow when Jesus returns to the tree and finds it withered. It’s fun letting them wonder! I handed them a bowl of dried figs and let them guess what they think is going to happen to the tree tomorrow. My kids like figs and happily eat the whole bowl while we talk. By the way, I purposely didn’t buy figs for a few months so that it would be special when I brought them out today. I think if they didn’t like them I might try fig newtons. Using all the senses here!
So after this, Jesus goes to the temple and cleans it by chasing out all the money changers and getting rid of the things they are selling. His Father’s house is not a place for making money. This story is a great one to act out with the kids because it’s so passionate! We even have a dove that got in on the acting…looked pretty much like a Sight and Sound play, almost.
There are so many ways to step into the world that Jesus walked in, even if it’s only for brief moments in the day. If we can’t get children to think like the people did in that day, it will be much harder for them to understand the stories of the Bible in the context they were written in. A chance to act is all my 6 and 8 year old want…every day, so it works well for us and puts them at the scene trying to figure out what expressions might have been on this person’s face while speaking words they just read in the Bible. Listen to the Words of the Bible coming from the mouth of a child, it will revive you.