The Good News
There are two ways I clean house. If I have little time to get accomplish this task with working outside the home all week, then I leave my glasses off. The cleaning goes a lot faster because I don’t see the dirt in the cracks so much. There is much I let slide by so the work can be done quickly, a “once-over” we say. When I have more time to devote, I put my glasses on to see all that I missed on previous “without glasses cleaning”. Wow, the dirt in the cracks can build up before you know it and now you see all the filth, decay, rot and nasty dirt that you have been living with…without glasses on. Mm.
Jesus had arrived late to the temple upon arriving in Jerusalem the night before. Remember, “He looked around, taking it all in.” I wonder what He was thinking when He looked around at this monumental edifice designed to by God’s House? I wonder if the “salespeople” and tradesmen had already left for the day.
But, wait, Jesus, God Son knows everything and all that goes on. He is not blinded by what we are. So, is the sadness, disappoint and anger building as he gets up the next morning and goes back to the Temple to survey in person what He already knows is happening there? Is that why he cursed a fig tree as an example to the disciples to what could happen to people who do not bear fruit and keep His “house of prayer” clean of evil doers?
Let’s read and chew on this awhile…
Mark 11, The Message
11 He entered Jerusalem, then entered the Temple. He looked around, taking it all in. But by now it was late, so he went back to Bethany with the Twelve.
The Cursed Fig Tree
12-14 As they left Bethany the next day, he was hungry. Off in the distance he saw a fig tree in full leaf. He came up to it expecting to find something for breakfast, but found nothing but fig leaves. (It wasn’t yet the season for figs.) He addressed the tree: “No one is going to eat fruit from you again—ever!” And his disciples overheard him.
15-17 They arrived at Jerusalem. Immediately on entering the Temple Jesus started throwing out everyone who had set up shop there, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of the bankers and the stalls of the pigeon merchants. He didn’t let anyone even carry a basket through the Temple. And then he taught them, quoting this text:
My house was designated a house of prayer for the nations;
You’ve turned it into a hangout for thieves.
18 The high priests and religion scholars heard what was going on and plotted how they might get rid of him. They panicked, for the entire crowd was carried away by his teaching.
19 At evening, Jesus and his disciples left the city.
20-21 In the morning, walking along the road, they saw the fig tree, shriveled to a dry stick. Peter, remembering what had happened the previous day, said to him, “Rabbi, look—the fig tree you cursed is shriveled up!”
22-25 Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Embrace this God-life. Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you. This mountain, for instance: Just say, ‘Go jump in the lake’—no shuffling or shilly-shallying—and it’s as good as done. That’s why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large. Include everything as you embrace this God-life, and you’ll get God’s everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember that it’s not all asking. If you have anything against someone, forgive—only then will your heavenly Father be inclined to also wipe your slate clean of sins.”
EMBRACE THIS GOD-LIFE!
We embrace this God-Life by repenting and asking God to clean our own temples in which we declare He abides! We need to clean with our glasses on…with the lens of how He sees us, our temple. He will not stay in unclean temples. He wants to overturn all that is not right in us. Let Him clean! Let Him transform us to be all what HE wants us to be.
We need to embrace God and faith in Him in such a way that makes us solid and unwavering no matter what is going on around us. It is only then we begin to bear fruit…such as gentleness, kindness, goodness, which is not of our doing but what God has transformed us to now be.
Jesus “urges us to pray about everything” and at the top of the list is to pray for and forgive quickly those who hurt you. Let go of the baggage of grudge that we carry around and be set free of it so that our loads we travel with are much lighter. That makes us free to help someone else get rid of their baggage. Yes, embrace this God-life…REALLY embrace Him. “Nothing will be too much for you.”
Dear Heavenly Father,
I have my glasses on to see all the words you have given to us this morning! I repent of those things that break your heart. Restore us by cleaning our temple. Be gentle as You continue to transform my life to be more and more like what You created us to be. I love you with all my heart, mind and soul. Do what you must, but be gentle. Set us all free in this cleansing of our souls and help us to all be houses of devoted prayer in a pure relationship with you as we listen to you speak to us.
In Jesus Name, Amen