During the last week before Passover, Jesus spent each day in Jerusalem while staying overnight in a town nearby. As he and his disciples walked toward the city on the second morning, Jesus saw a fig tree in the distance. He walked up to it but there was no fruit on the tree, just leaves. So he said to the tree, “You’ll never produce fruit again.”

When they arrived at the temple, Jesus saw people selling animals for sacrifice and exchanging foreign money. He threw them out, and turned over their tables.

He then sat down and said to the people, “The Scriptures say, ‘My house is to be known as a house of prayer.’ You’ve made it a den of thieves.” This made the religious leaders angry. They talked of killing him because he was becoming so popular.

The next morning, the disciples noticed the fig tree. “Teacher, look! The tree is all shriveled up!”

Jesus said, “Have faith in God, and you’ll do more than this. You can say to a mountain, ‘Throw yourself into the sea,’ and it’ll happen. But you must believe it will, without doubt in your heart. Also, you can’t hold a grudge against someone else.”

Jesus continued to teach the people in the temple. One day he said, “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it. He then went on a long trip, but before he left, he hired some men to care for his vineyard.

“When it was time for harvest, he sent a servant to collect his fruit. The men beat the servant and sent him away empty. The owner sent other servants, but they were all treated the same way. They even killed a few.

“Finally the owner said, ‘I need to send someone with authority so they’ll listen to him. Therefore, I’ll send my only son.’

“When the men saw the son, they said, ‘If we kill him, we’ll inherit everything!’ So they grabbed him, killed him, and threw him outside the vineyard.”

Jesus said, “What do you think the owner will do to these men?”

The people were quick to answer. “He’ll kill those men! He’ll then give the vineyard to people he can trust.”

The religious leaders knew this story was about them. They agreed that Jesus had to be arrested soon, but they didn’t know when and where. It had to be done carefully because they were afraid of the crowd.

Later, Jesus looked across the temple complex at the treasury. He watched the crowd dropping money into the treasury, especially the rich people who were putting in large amounts. Suddenly a poor widow came and dropped in two tiny coins worth less then a cent.

Jesus called his disciples around him and said, “Listen to me. That poor widow has put more in to the temple treasury than all those other people. They gave a little out of all they have. But she is extremely poor. What she gave was all she has. She gave the only money she has to live on.”


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Story of the Week - A Service of the MGBC Missions Committee