Tuesday of Holy Week began with an early morning trip back to Jerusalem. Given the crowds of pilgrims arriving for the Passover, Jerusalem would have been full of people: many visitors had to stay outside the city, camped on the Mount of Olives nearby, though Jesus and his disciples were staying at Bethany, either at the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary, or Simon the Leper (Pericope 244, Matt.21.17).
Arriving in the morning, they saw the fulfillment of Jesus’ curse against the fig tree (Pericope 254), a kind of enacted parable or prophecy. Jesus uses the opportunity to teach about the power of faith in prayer. Following this is a long series of interactions with the religious leaders, starting with a test question about John the Baptist (Pericope 255: The religious leaders challenge Jesus’ authority) that demonstrates they indeed had “no fruit”.
There’s little internal evidence as to which parts took place on Tuesday versus Wednesday, though Matthew ends his account in Pericope 281with “after two days the Passover is coming”. Since most of the pericopes in the first half of this sequence address the religious leaders, we’ll include those under today’s post, providing the set from Pericope 254: Jesus teaches about faith and prayerthrough to Pericope 264: Jesus condemns the religious leaders.