Summary: When Jesus cursed the fig tree in Mark 11, it was a symbolic act that represented God’s judgment on Israel for not bearing fruit and blessing the nations. As Christians, God has blessed us to be a blessing.
THE HOUSE OF PRAYER
INTRO: Talk about the youth conference and our spring break visit with my family.
OPENING TEXT: “Also the sons of the foreigner who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants-- Everyone who keeps from defiling the Sabbath, and holds fast My covenant-- Even them I will bring to My holy mountain (God’s presence), and make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” (Isaiah 56:6-7).
QUESTION: “If our church was gone tomorrow, would anyone in the community notice?”
KEY TEXT: Mark 11: Background – it is Palm Sunday, King Jesus enters into Jerusalem
“11 And Jesus went into Jerusalem and into the temple. So when He had looked around at all things, as the hour was already late, He went out to Bethany with the twelve.
• Beth any = house of the poor.
• Very little rainfall, about half an inch a year, the farmers did not do well there.
• Jesus’ friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived there, He was likely staying with them.
12 Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. 13 And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 In response Jesus said to it, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever again." And His disciples heard it.
• A fig tree is symbolic of prosperity and God’s blessings in the Bible.
• The fig tree was also a symbol of God’s blessing upon Israel.
• When Jesus came to the tree, there were leaves, but there was no fruit on it…
• The nation of Israel had leaves (outward show) but there was no fruit.
• Jesus is hungry for a fruitful church!
• Charaz - described the teaching of a Jewish rabbi: They would string stories together – the charaz = to string pearls together. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John did this. The first pearl is the story of the fig tree. Next story:
15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple…
• The temple represents us as believers (we are the temple of the Holy Spirit)
• In the Old Testament, God’s presence dwelled in the temple, now He lives in us.
15 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.
• This was the temple Herod had. Solomon’s temple had been destroyed in 586 BC.
• Outside were different courts where people could come – this was the Gentiles’ court
• The money changers charged exorbitant fees for their service. (doves = a month’s salary)
• They were making it hard for the Gentiles to come and worship. Jesus was angry!
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."