- Brad Nelson
Each year, I arrive at Holy week disoriented. With my haphazard Lenten commitments, for the most part, shattered, I enter it with the familiar sadness that Lent didn’t turn out as I had hoped or expected.
I’ve often wondered if the people who lined the road into Jerusalem shouting, “Hosanna!” throwing their cloaks down on the road, thinking Jesus was the king finally come to save them were some of the same people who only days later shouted, “Crucify him!” Did they know what kind of king he was? Did they know what his kingdom meant? If, in fact, they were the same people to shout “Hosanna” and “Crucify him,” did they ever realize that, in both cases, he obliged?
Mark is hinting at something by placing Jesus’ cleansing of the temple within the story of the fig tree. This is about much more than keeping greed from infiltrating a holy place. This is about a holy place, like the fig tree, becoming entirely indifferent to its purpose. Most everyone expected the king to come and establish himself in Jerusalem, with the temple at the heart of it. Jesus, on the other hand, seems to tear a hole in what everyone had hoped would be his throne.
And what’s this business of having faith and believing you’ll receive everything you ask God for?
That’s the thing with Jesus. At just the moment you think you’ve got him figured out, you don’t. If you arrive at Holy Week feeling disoriented, like it’s not what you expected, well, that’s how a lot of people felt when Jesus came into Jerusalem. They shouted, “Hosanna!” God save us! And I think they believed He would. I also think they got exactly what they asked for.