Today in the Western Church is Holy Monday, the day after Palm Sunday. It was a busy day for Jesus. According to scripture, Jesus cursed the fig tree, cleansed the temple, had responded to the question of His authority.
The cursing of the Fig Tree appears as incident reports in the Gospels of Mark and Matthew. They regard it as a miracle in connection to the entry into Jerusalem. Luke shares it as a parable using Old Testament references of the fig tree as representing Israel. Be it told as factual events as in Mark and Matthew or the parallel story told by Luke, the conclusion is clear. The fig tree is cursed by God having failed to bear fruits as it was designed to do. The fig tree represents the people of that time who failed to recognize Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah. The same can be said for the people of today who lack faith. Interestingly enough, John omit’s the incident entirely, shifting his focus on the cleansing of the temple, marking a turning point in the conflicts between Jesus and Jewish Authority of the time.
As for the questioning of Jesus’ authority, this account is found in all three synoptic gospels: Matthew (21:23-27), Mark (11:27-33) and Luke (20-1-8).
According to the Gospel of Matthew:
Jesus entered the temple courts, and while he was teaching, the chief priests and the enders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “ I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism – where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it amount themselves and said, “If we say ‘from heaven’, he will ask, ‘Then why did you not believe? But if we say ‘Of human origin’ we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
To put the events in chronological order, Jesus curst a fig tree, overturned the money tables outside the temple, then faced the challenges of Jewish elders. Holy Monday was a busy day indeed.
Sunday’s entrance into Jerusalem amidst the praises of the crowds singing Hosanna in the Highest and Monday’s defiant display put into motion the final pieces necessary. God needed Jewish elders to do more than just resent His influence over the people. They needed to be spurred into action. And so began the inevitable journey to the cross. It was all according to God’s plan of salvation. God picked the time, the place and the cast of participants necessary for the ultimate sacrifice. The High Priest and even Judas was all a part of His plan. Without the jealously of the Elders who plotted against Him, there would be no need of betrayal. Without Judas’ betrayal, there would be no crucifixion at the hands of Pontius Pilate. Without Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, there would be no hope of salvation. God himself came down from heaven, and paid the ransom of forgiveness for all time. This alone is reason enough to say Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ, King of endless glory.
Beefy Zucchini Mushroom Rigatoni
8 oz Rigatoni Pasta
1 large Zucchini
4 White Mushrooms
1/2 medium Yellow Onion
1 lb Ground Beef
Salt to taste
Black Pepper to taste
1 can condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
Garlic Powder to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and keep warm until ready to use.
While the water comes to a boil and the pasta cooks, peel zucchini. Cut lengthwise into quarters, then slice crosswise into bite-size pieces. Set zucchini aside. Clean, stem and slice mushrooms, set aside. Peel and dice onion, set aside.
Cook ground beef in a 12-inch high-sided skillet over medium-hit heat until well browned, breaking meat into small pieces as it cooks. Drain off any fat that may have accumulated in the skillet. Season meat with salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the zucchini, mushrooms and onions to the skillet; cook for 8 minutes or until vegetables and tender-crisp and mushrooms have release their liquid; stirring occasionally.
Stir in the soup and milk; heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Add drained rigatoni and balsamic vinegar. Cook for 2 minutes or until heated through. Season with garlic powder just before serving.
Plate pasta, garnish with Parmesan Cheese and enjoy. A simple salad will round out this meal perfectly.
The Lord is my light and my salvation.
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