God doesn’t need a house to live in
Ø Backpacking around the wilderness
§ Exodus 40:34 “the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”
§ Eternity that is God – from nothingness made man
Ø Solomon built a house
§ 1 Kings 6:13 – Dwell among His people
§ The purpose of the temple
· To come into the presence of the divine God
Ø Not a civic organization – a holy meeting between God and humanity
Matthew 21:12-22 - Parable lived out
Ø Most important messages last – deathbed instructions
Ø GOD has a message that He wants you to hear
Ø Son of David - Messianic king – comes to Jerusalem
§ Just had the last supper
§ Just raised Lazarus
§ Went directly to the temple
· Center of Jewish faith.
· Don’t miss this – God is in the temple
· Clearing the temple
¨ Truth of Jesus’ identity if finally - public
¨ Will bring Jesus to the cross.
Ø Purchasing animals in the temple– place of business. (12)
§ Den of thieves – verbatim from LXX – Jeremiah 7:11
· Not about profiteering
· Not about the corruption of the priesthood
· It’s about failing to understand the fundamental significance of the temple
¨ It’s about - The broader failure of Israel
¨ It’s about - Not fulfilling God’s purpose and plan for the temple
Healing or hurting? (14-15)
Ø Jesus - God
§ Heals the blind and the lame
· They seek for Him – do we experience this today?
· We ourselves do not give life
· Jesus is the One who gives life
· It is His presence that quickens us
§ Not just the physically wounded
· Blindness is representative of sin in our lives
· Inhibits relationship
§ Blessings of the kingdom – from a place of commerce to a place of healing
Ø The priests react (15)
§ Priests shocked and offended - wrong conclusion
§ Expected Jesus to be shocked as well (16)
· He says - From the mouth of babes
· Points to - Rule of God - unhindered communion of God and humanity
¨ What the temple symbolized – realized in Jesus
Ø But the children got it – probably mimicking earlier chants –
v Jesus leaves from the temple (17)
Ø Not time for confrontation
v Returned – but not to the temple
The Fig Tree
Ø Tree = Temple
Ø Slow-growing trees - years of patient labor (Pr. 27:18; Lk. 13:7),
§ Indigenous to Asia Minor
§ Makes a tree up to 11 m high, although it often as a shrub in rocky places.
§ Failure / destruction of fig trees was a national calamity
§ So important that Greeks - special laws regulating export.
Ø God’s promises - prosperity and prophetic warnings
§ Adam and Eve - clothed with fig leaves
Ø Fruitful or just leafy?
Disciples – then and now
Ø Called to prayer: The fig tree, the temple, and the child of God
Ø Restore relationships: Two seemingly unrelated stories
§ The Messiah is among his people in judgment and in healing.
· Judgment against unfruitful Israel
· Healing produces fruit – disciples then and now
Ø Power of prayer to those who believe,
§ Promise is NOT
· NOT to do anything you want
· NOT perform any miracle
· NOT astound the world with wonders - even miracles that make good sense (in terms of human need).
§ Promise IS
· Miraculous power available to fulfill your call
¨ Christian life in fruitful discipleship.
¨ God will provide if you ask
¨ Miraculous character of - provision and answered prayer
¨ About the healing of our relationship with God
v Question: What can you do?
Ø Answer: We can move mountains.
§ A stone at a time
· And how many are we?
· Does the pain in the world seem overwhelming?
· Do you see the billions of unbelievers as a calling? Or are there just too many?
Ø Be present - like Jesus
§ Walk – with them through the hurt
Ø Turn - hearts and minds outward in love
Ø Lead a holy life
Ø Healing – help people in practical ways
§ Holy Spirit
· Given to dwell in your family and friends –
· Lead in righteousness
§ How many Christians are praying?
Ø Listen – to hurts and hearts
Ø Help – them see past the lies they believe
Ø Teach – them to pray
Ø Read scripture – scripture reads us
§ In the process of wrestling with God’s Word come
· Challenges - Encouragement
· Inner blindness removed - Presuppositions confronted
· Lame – weak thinking healed so that there is strength of character
§ Interacting with His word we are:
· Re-formed / Trans-formed
§ The more we know Him the more responsible we are to obey Him
· For our own good - Desire not duty
· Obedience is as much a prelude to understanding as it is a consequence of it
Do you realize that you are the temple of God?
Ø Paul makes that clear in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19
Ø In Romans 8:11 he says the Spirit dwells in us
Ø So we can look at this passage to find out what the temple is to be and what it is not to be
v Called to be holy, healed, healing, fruitful
Ø Are people meeting Jesus in your part of the Temple?
§ Jesus must be present – without Him you are an empty building
Ø Are you a fruitless tree?
§ What makes you feel significant?
· If my kids turn out well?
· If I excel at what I do?
§ He expects you to be more than a leafy tree – you are supposed to bear fruit
Ø Remove the things inhibit our prayers being heard. (people love the darkness)
§ Cut out anything that doesn’t produce fruit
§ Purge your own junk
§ He will help you toss whatever inhibits communion of humanity with God – call to holiness
§ Not by our power but by the power of the Holy One
Ø Then the mountain moves
§ He will answer prayers that move mountains – you can’t move them but He can
Ø Help people heal
§ He is offended by religiosity
§ He is not offended by the children
§ He will heal through you
Ø Pray into the power of God