Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: A look at Jesus entry into Jerusalem, and what it is to move mountains.

05/04/09 Moving mountains.

The week prior to Jesus crucifixion started with his Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. What a welcome --- we know it as Palm Sunday; today Palm Sunday Is remembered. We also know that by the end of the week the crowds who had wanted him to be their King had faded away and there was a crowd baying for his blood.

You will see today the harvest is being celebrated our autumn and harvest is about the same time as Easter. Today I will be talking about fruit, and the Bible passage that I will be looking into in detail is Matthew 21:18-21. This is a record of some of the events that occurred on the Monday after Palm Sunday.

We learn in this passage a little more of who Jesus is, now Jesus was hungry, Jesus had been hungry before we know that he fasted and was tempted after fasting forty days and nights in the desert.

Jesus knew real hunger, this day however on approaching this tree as mentioned by Matthew, this fig tree and seeing no figs he was involved in what we would consider an act of destruction, he cursed the fig tree. Immediately the tree withered, Matthew describes this as having happened immediately.

There are two important things within the first three verses, which we learn of Jesus, as a man he experienced hunger, but in this divine nature he was able with his words, to cause the destruction of part of his creation.

There is huge symbolism within this passage also. The Nation of Israel is referred to by the Old Testament prophets Jeremiah, Hosea and Micah symbolically as a Fig Tree. Hosea speaks on behalf of God saying (you may want to read this in Hosea 9:10).

“When I found Israel it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.”

The significance of Hosea’s words is that God delighted in Israel and that this nation had committed herself to a covenant relationship with him, at the time of Hosea, Israel was turning her back on God. The tree is symbolic of the Nation of Israel both then and at the time of Jesus ministry. Hosea’s ministry was around 720 BC.

In Micah we read “What misery is mine! I am like the one who gathers summer fruit at the gleaning of the vineyard; there is no cluster of grapes to eat, none of the early figs that I crave.” (Micah 7:1) Micah’s ministry was around 700 BC. The significance was that the prophet was describing how God was feeling. Jesus was also looking for the fruit and there were none to be found. I Hosea’s time and in the time of Jesus ministry the religious leaders were not living righteously, they were not in a right relationship with God, this was also occurring in Jesus time on earth or they would have recognised Jesus for who he is.

The disciples were amazed at the events that occurred, if we look at the events that occurred that day we see these three things,

The authority of Jesus; Here is a man who with just his words causes a tree to wither, it’s dead done finished!!! It’s bit the dust, sucked a kumara, it will not grow again, that’s it, it’s all over, kaput, no fruit ever again. Amazingly he did this with his words.

We see that Jesus was hungry - very human. We see that he killed a tree with his words - very divine. We have in the Salvation Army have a doctrine about that these two things, his divinity and his humanity that Jesus was and is, it’s doctrine number four, “We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that he is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.”

The next thing was the amazement of the disciples; at his actions, in killing a tree, or was it that it withered so quickly. It interests me that even in the time they spent with him over those three years; the miracles they had seen him carry out that Jesus was still able to amaze the disciples by this one.

Jesus reply to them about what happened may have also amazed them: let’s look at verses 21 and 22 again. I wonder as they were walking from Bethany to Jerusalem was Jesus talking about the mount of Olives that he was walking beside or was he looking at the Temple Mount ahead of him?

The Temple Mount was where he was going to teach, accuse the Temple sect leaders and be accused himself of blasphemy, rejected and plotted against where his death was to be planned. Was this comment out of his frustration at not being able to get through to those of the temple sect?

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