Summary: We need to tap into the power in the name of Jesus.
A Messiah's Voice of Authority
Text: Matt. 21:18-27
1. Illustration: When I was serving with YWAM in the summer of 1982, we played a concert at a school in Amsterdam. As the concert ended, the students began to come up to us and talking with us, and believe it or not, some even asked for our autographs. At that moment a tall, thin, man with a flat-top and a long flowing beard stepped to the microphone and with a very authoritative voice said in Dutch "Un zitten!" (“sit down” in English). Without hesitation every student returned to their seats and you could have heard a pin drop. He had the voice of authority.
2. Jesus has the voice of authority. The Bible tells us that...
b. Wind and Waves
c. Dead People
d. Even trees listened when he spoke.
3. In our text today we see...
a. Jesus Authority Spoken
b. Jesus Authority Shared
c. Jesus Authority Challenged
4. Read Matt. 21:18-27
Proposition: We need to tap into the power in the name of Jesus.
Transition: The first thing we see is...
I. Jesus Authority Spoken (18-20).
A. Then He Said
1. As I stated in the introduction, when Jesus spoke people, demons, and even nature listened.
a. In the midst of a raging storm, he spoke to the wind and waves and the storm ceased.
b. When he spoke to demons to come out and leave people alone they obeyed him without hesitation.
c. When he spoke to his dead friend Lazarus, he came forth out of his grave.
2. Now we see another instance of the authority of Jesus. Matthew tells us that, "In the morning, as Jesus was returning to Jerusalem, he was hungry..."
a. The word translated "in the morning" means very early in the morning. He woke up early and was naturally hungry.
b. Although He was the Son of God, in His incarnation Jesus had all the normal physical needs characteristic of human beings.
c. Therefore, when He saw a lone fig tree by the road, He hoped to find fruit on it to eat (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
3. As he walked along, "and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves..."
a. By this time of year fig trees near the Mount of Olives would have leaves, but only green fruit with an unpleasant taste appeared this early; edible figs appeared around early June.
b. Often the green fruit would fall off, leaving only leaves (Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
c. But in April, a fig tree at the altitude of Jerusalem would not usually have either fruit or leaves, because, as Mark observes, "it was not the season for figs.”
d. Nevertheless, if the tree produced leaves early it should have produced fruit early (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).
4. So when Jesus got up to the tree and found no fruit "he said to it, 'May you never bear fruit again!' And immediately the fig tree withered up."
a. One thing that we must notice here is that Jesus didn't curse the tree because it did not meet his needs when he was hungry.
b. On the contrary, it was a prophetic sign of God's judgment of unrepentant Israel, just as his cleansing of the Temple had been.
c. He used it as an illustration of Israel, who even though he came to save them from their sins, did not receive him and rejected his grace and mercy.
d. He came to them expecting a positive response to the Gospel, but instead he got rejection and ridicule.
e. He came expecting life, and instead he found a dead, unspiritual religion (Horton, 449).
5. There is also a warning intended for us. Jesus expects us to be fruitful in our lives as his disciples.
a. When people look and us and expect to see the life and character of Jesus, but instead they see a life filled with hypocrisy and self-centeredness we will also be judged.
b. As Adam Clark states in his commentary, "When the soul continues in unfruitfulness, the influences of grace are removed, and then the tree speedily withers from the very root" (Clark, A Commentary and Critical Notes).
c. Fruit is always an indication of salvation, of a transformed life in which operates the power of God.
d. People's right relation to God is evidenced by the fruit they bear.
e. Jesus' point regarding the fig tree was that Israel as a nation had an impressive pretense of religion, represented by the leaves.
f. But the fact that the nation bore no spiritual fruit was positive proof she was unredeemed and cut off from the life and power of God (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew 16-23).