Which day did Jesus cleanse the temple?

Matthew 21:12—”Did Jesus cleanse the temple on the day he entered Jerusalem (Matthew 21:12) or the next day (Mark 11:1-17)? And when was the fig tree cursed (see Mark 11:12)?”

The chronology goes as follows:

Day 1: Jesus enters Jerusalem on a colt, visits the temple briefly, and returns to Bethany for the night. Day 2: Jesus rises early, curses the fig tree on the way to Jerusalem, and then clears the temple

This is clear in Mark and Luke, but Matthew places the Temple cleansing between the triumphal entry and the cursing of the fig tree. The solution is simply that Matthew’s Gospel is not strictly chronological, but topical—a common feature of early biographies. He wanted to tie together the two related stories of the triumphal entry and the temple cleansing, and therefore left the unrelated story of the fig tree until later. Notice that in Matthew neither the temple-cleansing account nor the fig-tree account begin with clear sequence-language (‘then’, ‘after that,’ etc).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.