They arrived at Jerusalem. Immediately on entering the Temple Jesus started throwing out everyone who had set up shop there, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants.
He didn't let anyone even carry a basket through the Temple.
And then he taught them, quoting this text: My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations; You've turned it into a hangout for thieves.
The high priests and religion scholars heard what was going on and plotted how they might get rid of him. They panicked, for the entire crowd was carried away by his teaching.
At evening, Jesus and his disciples left the city.
In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled to a dry stick.
Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, "Rabbi, look - the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!"
Jesus was matter-of-fact: "Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it,
and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, 'Go jump in the lake' - no shuffling or shilly-shallying - and it's as good as done.
That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you'll get God's everything.
And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it's not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive - only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)