Summary: Was John's baptism from heaven or from human origin?
Before reading our passage this morning, let us remind ourselves of what we noted last week. We are to grow our faith in God and faith comes by hearing (reading and learning) the Word of God. Let us also note 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
God is good!! All the time!
If God is for us and with us, why aren’t we good all the time? If we want to do good to match our God, we need to do what God says; no matter what other people say!
So please open your Bibles to Mark 11…. We studied v1-11 during Palm Sunday a few months ago. This morning we will look at v12-33. After reading this passage a few times, there are many truths stated but I really was not sure what the main lesson is.
So let us read it and allow God to speak to us and learn. I will summarize the story then share with you what I learned. Remember that all Scripture, including what we are going to read, is God breathed and is useful for teaching. Read along with me now Mark 11:12-33…………
We can note that the sequence is different; and so, some may say it’s a different story; but let us note that the biblical principles are the same, just 2 different views; this is one of the reasons why we have 4 Gospels written; it is like the 4 blindmen trying to explain an elephant by touching and describing different parts of the same animal.
Read along with me Matthew 21:12-27…
And so, although the sequence of events are different from the 2 Gospels, let us note the major stories and truths.
Jesus got hungry!
- He looked for fruit from a fig tree but found none
Did Jesus already know that there were no fruit?? – Jesus is God and it was not season for fig fruit!
If Jesus already knew there were no fruit but brought His disciples there anyway, there must have been a lesson to be taught!
And so what did Jesus do?
- Jesus cursed that specific fig tree (not all fig trees are cursed)
And what do we note?
- The disciples heard the curse and witnessed the result
Why was this story told of Jesus getting hungry and the fig tree withering? If we look carefully in context we can see why; but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s note another event in the passage.
Jesus had righteous anger at the Temple Courts!
- Jesus drove out the lovers of money
- Jesus overturned all the tables used for making money
And why can we say that it was righteous anger by Jesus??
- God’s house is for prayer not for stealing people’s money
I wonder if Jesus showed up today, how many churches would be cleared out by Jesus? May this church never be about money!
And the other story we need to highlight is..
Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders! I think this event with the leaders gives us the main lesson for the passage.
- The religious leaders were thinking Jesus was following someone (Who gave you the authority? - they asked!) the leaders were looking for Jesus’ human leader!
- Jesus brought up John the Baptist (a man the leaders knew)
- Religious leaders could not answer if John’s baptism came from heaven or human origin
And so, what can we say are the general truths from these stories??
Jesus while on earth was both man and God! He got hungry. He got angry! He was confronted! But yet, he had supernatural powers!
The disciples were still learning!
People, even in church, can be greedy instead of focusing on God!
Prayer with the right heart is a priority at church! (and there are barriers to prayer! our own sins must first be confessed!)
Faith can move mountains! This was the lesson Jesus was teaching the disciples regarding the fig tree. Look at Matthew 21:21 again….
And so, there are many lessons to be learned from this passage. But I think, like a puzzle, if we put all the pieces together, there is an underlying truth God wants to teach us; it’s a lesson I have to be reminded of for sure on a daily basis.
We noted the humanity of Jesus, hunger, anger, and winning a debate! We can also note the greed and pride of people. We can also note the wonderment and limitations of a physical tree. But in this passage, we can also note, the power of Jesus’ word , the power of prayer and faith, and the power of God’s plan (as we can note from John the Baptist).