Sunday, February 10, 2013
Jesus: The Tree Killer
Mark 11:15 tells us that Jesus now enters the temple. Once again Jesus finds something that He is not happy with. What was supposed to be a place of spiritual encouragement and sacrifice was nothing more than a Wal-Mart with an altar. He was furious! Angry Jesus then starts flipping over tables, whipping people, and kicking these money loving folks out of God's house. He shouted, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers." Far from the long-haired, soft spoken Jesus we see in the movies, these two occurrences give us a different look at the Son of God.
Using what theologians call a "Markan Sandwhich", Mark intertwines Jesus cursing the fig tree and cleansing the temple to show us a common spiritual truth. The temple like the fig tree was supposed to produce blessing and nourishment, but both were empty. And just as Jesus cursed the tree, so he cleansed God's house and banished these greedy men. The truth it teaches is striking. God desires for His people and His Church to be means of spiritual nourishment and growth, but when we use what is holy for our own gain, we can expect God's judgment. This message is needed today more than ever. God is no more satisfied with a church not fulfilling it's purpose than he was this Wal-Mart of a temple. We would be wise to take a long look at the state of our churches that we are not next in line for God's angry show of His disapproval. Jesus ended up going to Jerusalem and being put to death for the sins of His people. He really loves His church and her purity. His church is His means, His plan-A, for reaching the nations with His Gospel. So when we see angry Jesus in these stories, he is acting as a loving husband in defense of a needy bride that is being attacked. He will defend the purity of His church and bride today just as faithfully and forcefully. So the moral of the story is don't stand between a man and his bride. It could get ugly.