Yesterday Jesus went to his house of worship and saw that it had become a marketplace -- so he literally braided a whip and cleaned house. What in the world happened today?
After he and his associates pass that fig tree, they go back to the Temple, where Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders who try to ensnare him in some sort of an argument that will create an opportunity for his arrest. After he flummoxes them and chews them out, he gives them the slip and leaves the city for the Mount of Olives, where -- prompted by the disciples casually admiring the Temple's architecture -- gives a prophesy on its destruction and then launches into what Biblical scholars call the Olivet Discourse, wherein he talks at length about the end times in parables.
This is also the day that Judas Iscariot negotiates with The Sanhedrin and makes arrangements to betray Jesus.
What a long, pivotal, exhausting day.
Now Jesus left the temple and was going away. His disciples came to point out to him the temple buildings. 2 He responded, “Do you see all these things? I assure that no stone will be left on another. Everything will be demolished.”
As Jesus predicted, the Temple was destroyed -- in 70 AD when the Romans torched it. Apparently, the fire melted the gold in the Temple, which ran down into the cracks in the stone walls. Later, people searched for that gold, knocking over the stones to find any of it.
I can't even begin to touch the history of this region with a stick -- and yet, a little history goes a long way...!
The Mount of Olives (it was covered with olive trees at one point, hence the name) is one of three mountain ridges -- Mount Scopus to the north and Mount of Corruption (or Mount of Offense) to the south -- located east of Jerusalem's Old City, in an area called The Valley of Jehoshophat. The ridge isn't suitable for construction, so man-made burial caves were built. A portion of the mount has been a necropolis for well over 3,000 years -- with an estimated 150,000 graves. (A Jewish group is in the process of mapping every tombstone there.) Several Old Testament prophets are buried there. So is Absalom.
In Jesus day, Jerusalem was known as "the city of seven hills". Interestingly, so was Rome.
Arial photograph of the Mount of Olives
Today's Bonus is the TV documentary Jesus: The Complete Story.
Volume 1: The Beginnings
Volume 2: The Mission