Summary: A brief sermon on the importance of God’s House, the church being a place of prayer.
Let’s walk through the events of Passion Week / Holy Week. The 8 most important days in History.
1. Sunday – Palm Sunday – The Royal Entry
2. Monday – Jesus Cleanses the Temple
3. Tuesday- Day of Conflict
4. Wed.- Day of Silence – Nothing is recorded on this day in any of the Gospels.
The Last Supper, Garden of Gethsemane, The Betrayal, and Arrest.
6. Friday – Trial before the Jews, Denial by Peter, Trial before Pilate, The Cross,
The burial in Joseph’s new tomb hewn out of solid rock.
7. Saturday – Guard posted at the tomb.
8. Sunday – The Resurrection. The Empty Tomb, The Risen Lord.
Appearances of the Risen Lord-
The Two on the Road to Emmaus
The Disciples in the Upper Room minus Thomas
Now let’s back up to Monday morning and the events that took place on Monday.
2 things happened –
1. Jesus cursed the Fig Tree.
2. Jesus cleansed the temple.
Mark 11:12 – Emphasizes the genuine humanity of Christ – He was hungry. His stomach was growling.
When he was tired he rested. When he was thirsty He needed water. When he was hungry he needed food.
He was fully human.
vv.13-14 –Underscores the need for fruit. There’s more here than meets the eye. It wasn’t just the fruitless fig tree that Jesus was condemning. He was condemning the fruitless nation of Israel. The nation had the religion without the reality of a relationship with God.
If this were today the earth firsters would be out protesting against Jesus for cursing the fig tree.
What kind of fruit is Jesus looking for in our lives?
He touched on some of the fruit that he is looking for the next day – Tuesday. Look at vv.20-26.
Faith – “Have Faith in God.”v.22
Prayer- v.24 – Prayer promise.
Forgiveness – vv.25-26.
According to Jesus there are 2 things here that limit our prayer life –
On the other hand our prayer life is strengthened by faith and forgiveness.
Mark 11:15-19 – Jesus cleanses the Temple.
Mark 11:15-19 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’ ? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
It is no accident that this story is sandwiched in between the two parts of the story dealing with the cursing of the fig tree.
This is the second time Jesus cleansed the temple. John records an earlier cleansing that took place at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. See John 2:13ff.
The temple was the Holiest building on earth. It was the center of the highest expression of religion up to that time. The temple represented God’s dwelling place on earth.
God had a temple for his people as place of worship.
What happens when the Lord of the Temple pays a visit?
What did he find there? - He had survey the situation the evening before. See v.11.
The part of the temple where the Gentiles had access to worship the God of Israel had been changed into a marketplace where merchants were selling animals for the various sacrifices at highway robbery prices. The Passover had ceased to be a holy occasion. It was good for business. Kind of like in our culture today where we measure how good the Christmas season is by it’s impact on the Nations economy. Christmas is good for business. But for most it is not a celebration of Jesus.
The temple precincts were noisy, smelly, dirty, and corrupt. Some were even cutting through the temple as a shortcut to get somewhere else without any respect for the true purpose of the temple or those who were there to genuinely worship God. They had robbed the Gentiles of their place in the temple.
How could a gentile who was really seeking the God of Israel ever find Him in such an unholy atmosphere?
How could someone pray when people are buying and selling?
The atmosphere and activities in the temple were counter productive to God’s plan, purpose, and program to include all people. See Is.56:6-8
Isaiah 56:6-8“Also the sons of the foreigner
Who join themselves to the LORD, to serve Him,