Jesus would stay Monday night outside Jerusalem in Bethany and then return in the morning (Mark 11:19-20). He did three things on Tuesday that at first would appear random but each one is saturated with significance. The ESV Bible provides them as three headings: The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree (Mark 11:20-26); The Authority of Jesus Challenged (Mark 11:27-33); The Parable of the Tenants (Mark 12:1-12).
Beginning with the fig tree lesson, Jesus had cursed the tree the day before. He came looking for figs and there were none. While passing by on Tuesday, Peter noticed that the tree was now withered. It is no coincidence that Mark sandwiches the cleansing of the temple (11:15-19) between the cursing of the fig tree (11:12-14) and its ultimate demise (11:20-26). It was to communicate that the entire Jewish religious system had fallen into fruitlessness and was about to be withered.
The religious leaders didn’t get the memo. Instead they challenged Jesus’ authority and asserted their own authority. They were the ones in charge the temple. They were the teachers. They decided what happened to who and when. And if they didn’t like Jesus’ answer, he would be arrested.
Even though they will arrest him, their undoing is portrayed in the Parable of the Tenants. This is no doubt a picture of God’s relationship with Israel. He sent them prophet after prophet and finally sent his Son whom they killed. What God entrusted to them would be taken from them and given to others. And thus they will wither. And thus their authority will be shown for what it is. And thus much fruit would come among the nations through the death of God’s Son.