Friday before Easter week

On this day almost 2000 years ago, Jesus and his band of brothers would be taking daily trips from Mary and Martha’s house in Bethany to the temple in Jerusalem, 4 miles round trip. On the way into town, Jesus seeks a snack from a fig tree. After finding no fruit on it, he curses the tree and walks away. When they arrive at the temple, Jesus casts out the money changers. You see, a Jewish person could not offer Roman coin as tithe since it bore the image of Caesar on it. Therefore the money changers would exchange your Roman coin for silver or gold coins or more likely pieces of silver or gold at an exchange rate in their favor of 12%. So to tithe $10, you’d exchange your money and be able to actually give $8.80. Furthermore, if a sacrifice was required of you that week (which, let’s be honest, which week have we not sinned in) they would sell you a “clean” animal or a better animal (instead of just the best of what you had) in lieu of the one you brought or as the case was in some sacrifices that you did not own the type of animal required so you would have to purchase one. Of course these were marked up at exorbent rates, so he whips them and tosses them out. He then heals many at the temple and the children begin chanting “Hosanna to the Son of David”. This enraged the chief priests, scribes and religious leaders. They ask the children to stop but Jesus simply states that they are fulfilling prophecy. They do not return to Bethany this evening since sunset marks the Sabbath and Jewish tradition holds that they must not walk too far that day. They would stay over at an accommodating person’s gethsemane or olive press. This was probably a cave where olives from the nearby hillside would have been brought in and pressed to make olive oil. Since Passover is in the spring and olive pressing is done in the fall, this gethsemane would have been empty and available. It would have been located in Bethpage on the Mount of Olives in order that their trip this evening and in the morning back to Jerusalem would fall in line with Jewish observance of the Sabbath.

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