< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: More from Mark Chapter 11

Friday, August 03, 2012

More from Mark Chapter 11

We’re going to skip the next few verses and come back to them.

Mark 11: 15-18 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

This is the second time Jesus cleansed the temple. The first was in the beginning of His ministry. The area this took place in was The Court of the Gentiles. And it was HUGE! 45 acres! Because it was Passover week there would have been tens of thousands of people there that day. And Jesus shut it down!

The reason He was angry was because travelers coming to worship God had to get their Roman coins changed into temple currency and the money changers would charge them a lot to do that. Then they would take this devalued currency and buy animals to sacrifice and they were charged two and three times too much for the animals.

And Christ had had enough! God owned the temple! Only God’s authority could have shut this down on the busiest day of the year. Everyone recognized His authority when He spoke and they were afraid. But the high priests and the money changers hated Him because of it. He wrecked their finances.

Now back to the verses we skipped:

Mark 11: 12-14 12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

This tree had a lot of leaves, a lot of show, but no figs. This is a parable about the scribes and Pharisees. They made a lot of show about their religion, but there was no fruit.

Christ is the creator of everything, which means He has authority over everything. Which means He also has the right to judge us.

Colossians 1:16-18 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

The fig tree had a purpose: to make figs. So when it failed to make figs it wasn’t good for anything anymore. Believers were created to bear fruit.

Colossians 1: 9-13 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

Mark 11:19-26 19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. 20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Peter is surprised that the fig tree has died. Instead of answering Peter’s comment, He talks about faith. To build theirs up. He says a primary way to have faith is through prayer. Verse 23 speaks of the power of faith, of prayer. God is able to do amazing and miraculous things. When you trust in God He is able to do the impossible.

It’s not about us being able to do something; it’s about God able to do anything! The enemy of faith is skepticism. If we want to do what’s healthy for our souls we will bow the knee and say, “Yes, Lord.’ Faith comes from knowing Christ and obeying Him.

And where this passage talks about forgiving? Unforgiveness in your heart is disbelief in God’s power and His love for you. When you live in forgiveness you let God deal with the offense. If you hold onto it, it’s like saying you don’t trust Him to take care of it.

Mark 11:27-33 27 They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28 “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”

29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30 John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!”

31 They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ 32 But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)

33 So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”

Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”

The scribes and Pharisees asked him by what authority He had to kick out all the money changers from the temple. They were always trying to trip up Jesus. But it never worked because He knows ALL! Christ IS wisdom! He made everything, He knows how it works and He knows how to fix it! We can trust in Him alone!

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