It’s the Monday of Jesus’ final week on this planet.
Yesterday, Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem caused quite a stir. Today, the stir grows into an outright uproar resulting in the religious leaders wanting to kill him.
Jesus was on his way back into the city. Here’s what happened next:
Jesus was hungry. 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. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
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, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 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.’”
The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth praise’?”
Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.
(Matthew 21:12-19; Mark 11:12-19; Luke 19:45-48)
Jesus doesn’t have much time left. The lessons are coming quickly and graphically.
Got fruit? First, he makes it clear that a tree without fruit is useless. We’re Jesus’ branches in this world (John 15:1-5). Our job is simple: let the Holy Spirit produce fruit through us. What kind of fruit does Jesus want to see growing in our lives? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22).
Den of robbers? Next, Jesus cleared out the temple for the second time. The people clearly weren’t listening. What made him so angry? Prayer was being squeezed out by crass commercialism. Jesus is dead serious about prayer. He wants his temple free from anything that might distract from that essential function.
What on earth does this have to do with us today? Let’s answer that question with a question from the Bible:
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
We’re God’s temple in the world today. We’re supposed to be a house of prayer. Ask Jesus to drive out anything in your life that’s getting in the way.
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