Summary: An Exposition of Mark 11:12-26
A Very Dangerous Man
This morning, I want to talk to you about a very dangerous man. This man was a threat to His community. He was known to hang around with some very shady characters, even counting a possible terrorist among His closest friends. He was known to have broken the law a few times, though He always seemed to argue His way out of the consequences. One day He even walked into a church, and threw everybody out, shouting and whipping until He emptied the place. He stirred up trouble everywhere with the authorities, and eventually it became obvious the only way to deal with Him would be to execute Him. He was too dangerous to live.
This dangerous Man I want to talk to you about is named Jesus Christ. (By the way, if you want to know the “terrorist” Jesus befriended, look up the meaning of the name of one of His disciples: Simon the Zealot). I hope it doesn’t shock you too much to hear me refer to our Lord as a dangerous Man, but I find that is the word that best describes His actions and words when He entered Jerusalem on the last week of His ministry. From a human viewpoint, Jesus became so dangerous that the religious leaders decided to kill Him.
But I want to do more than demonstrate to you that Jesus was dangerous to those folks- I want to convince you this morning that Jesus is still dangerous today. We’ve tried to tame Him into a meek, harmless, meaningless Figure Who wouldn’t hurt a flea, but one of my purposes this morning will be to persuade you to get rid of that image of Jesus Christ, and replace it with an image that is true to the Bible. Jesus Christ is still a dangerous Person for at least 3 reasons we will discover in Mark 11:12-26:
I. HE IS DANGEROUS IN HIS ANGER. (v. 12-20)
If you are a fan of the comic book character named The Incredible Hulk, you know that it is dangerous to make Bruce Banner angry. Anger triggers a transformation in this otherwise calm gentleman which transforms him into a raging, green monster. I always wondered if there was a subtle message about losing your temper in that story. It is easy to imagine almost any of us becoming very angry, but can you imagine Jesus angry? The Bible tells us His anger is a part of His personality:
Mark 3:5 And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts…
Re 6:15-17 16… “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”
All four Gospels record this famous example of Jesus’ anger. But what made Him mad? Mark basically tells us two things: unfruitfulness and greed.
Mark subtly stresses the fact of Jesus’ humanity when he writes that Jesus enters Jerusalem hungry. Even though He is God, He knows what it’s like to need to eat. On His way to the Temple, He passes a fig tree full of leaves on its branches. Even though it was not time for figs to grow, the leaves indicate that you can expect fruit to be on the tree. Jesus goes looking for something to munch on, but there are no figs. Jesus gets angry. He curses this tree, which ends up killing it. Jesus killed this unfruitful tree. What is this all about?
There is more going on here than just the death of a fruitless tree. Jesus uses the fig tree as an object lesson. Many times in the OT Israel is symbolized by a fig tree (Jer. 8:13; Hosea 9:10, 16). Many times God told Israel that He expected fruit from them: righteousness, obedience, love for the Lord. Jesus acts out this scenario to make the same point: He is God in the flesh, looking for fruit in the lives of His people. But like this fig tree, Jesus finds a lot of leaves- a lot of religious activity- but no fruit. And like this fig tree, Israel will experience His judgment- specifically in AD 70 when the Romans will destroy Jerusalem. The lesson here is simply this: when God’s people are unfruitful, Jesus gets dangerously angry!
Immediately following this incident, Jesus walks into the Temple- the place where God is to be worshipped. But instead of hearing songs of praise, and the reading of God’s Word, He hears the sound of the marketplace, the stock market, the trading post. Why?
Worshippers coming to Jerusalem to the Temple were not allowed to use Roman money to as offerings to the Lord, because it was stamped with an image of the Emperor on it. They had to have it changed into Jewish money. People had to buy the animals to sacrifice in the Temple, so there were many businessmen who saw a demand and offered a supply, often price gouging to make more of a profit. These men were robbing those who came to worship.