The Weekend Word
Jesus Cleanses the Temple
12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.
Who is this guy again? What is he doing?
- Is this a manic side of Jesus?
- Look at what is happening – Jesus is clearing house of all other sacrifices.
- What is left – just Jesus — so let’s sacrifice Jesus.
- Immanuel is now in his temple.
- He is like the parent who comes in and just takes the toy away from the child so that he cannot play with it anymore.
- Quit playing with the temple – quit playing with the sacrifices – quit playing with my word!
- Now all you have left is me.
- Everything about the temple was preparatory for him
13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
- What was the purpose of the temple?
- To teach that God lives in the presence of his people. To do just this – to suffer and die.
- It was a place of sacrifice and they had turned it into a place of commerce. Just remember that the next time you hear someone pitching their books or tapes from the pulpit.
- Where is the temple? The temple is where Jesus lives – and our bodies are now the temple of the Holy Spirit.
- So why do you go to church? It is not to give to God but to receive from God.
- It is not to barter with him, nor is it a place to try and influence a scorekeeping God.
- No, we are the ones who desperately need his mercy.
14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
- The temple is being reset to its purpose.
- These people who need healing now become object lessons of who Jesus is.
- This is the answer to all the Hosanna chants.
15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant,
- There are always 2 reactions to Jesus – which is yours?
16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
- The kingdom of God is for these babies.
- This is a prime example of the 1st will be last etc.
- This is so good – who makes confession of Jesus here? That’s right, the children and the babies – doesn’t that qualify them for baptism?
17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.
- It’s like Jesus saying “I’m outta here!
- Out he goes to Bethany to spend the night.
Jesus Curses the Fig Tree
18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry.
- Here is the 100% human Jesus – he is hungry
- Note my wording because this is difficult. I was going to say the 100% human ‘side’ of Jesus or the 100% human ‘part’ of Jesus – but in a technical sense that is a heresy – because Jesus is 100% God and 100% man and there are no parts.
- It’s not like his human side was glued to his God side (like you would with 2 boards)
19 And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.
- Here we come to another ‘Jesus object lesson.’
- What just happened before?
- Again, this is Jesus terminating the old Israel.
20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?”
- How sudden all this happened. Imagine a time lapsed video of a tree dying over months captured in 1 min.
- Note that the people are always asking for a sign and Jesus gave them the sign of Jonah – I will be buried for 3 days and I will rise from the dead – that is the sign — Trust That.
- Who usually asks for the signs? “An evil and adulterous generation.”
- But Jesus here is saying ‘better a fig tree than you – learn from the sign.’
- This whole scene is a demonstration of Jesus’ high pastoral care.
21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.
- This is Jesus indicting his people who will not believe.
22 And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”
- A common paraphrase of what Jesus is always saying – ‘as you believe, so you will have.’
- Since Jesus gives the faith to the believers, I think this is more ‘if you use your faith.’