Summary: In this message we discover what it is that God is looking for in us. In fact, we will see what it is that he hungers for. First we wil see what he definitely does not want.

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Mark 11:12-25

INTRO: Its hard to figure out what some people are looking for:

• The man whose wife tells him he needs to bring her flowers, then cries and is unhappy when he does.

• A boss whose requirements change frequently

• A teacher whose grading seems arbitrary

• A parent whose boundaries are inconsistent

What about God? Do you ever have troube figuring out what he wants from you?

PREV: Today, we will discover what it is that God is looking for in us. In fact, we will see what it is that he hungers for. First we wil see what he definitely does not want. It all takes place in Mark 11.

Transition: After the 1st day, we’ve seen how Jesus presents himself to us in a way that requires a response. But there’s more. Remember how the 1st day ended with Jesus checking out the Temple? On the second day, he heads for the Temple, with some very interesting result. Notice what happened on the way in to the city, as I read vv. 12-14.

A. Jesus judges a tree without fruit

People have struggled with this event, thinking it not worthy of Jesus.

But this isn’t the childish outburst of an angry Jesus (Which, incidentally, would be pretty frightening).

Its a vivid dramatic parable. It has a point…

OT prophets did this kind of thing a lot.

Illus: The worse job I ever had: Honeybaked Ham.

But the one job you don’t want is OT prophet.

God had them do all kinds of strange things.

• Isaiah went around stripped and barefoot for 3 years.

• Jeremiah bought a linen belt, buried it until it was ruined, and then had to wear it around. He also had to smash jars in front of the nation’s leaders.

• Ezekiel built a model of Jerusalem, then laid on his left side for 390 days, then on his right side for 40 days.

• Then there’s that whole thing about Hosea having to marry a prostitute (who stayed in business).

All these things were to make a spiritual point.

So it is with this account.

Food isn’t the issue. Jesus often went without food.

Jesus uses his hunger as an occasion to teach.

His hunger/disappointment not cited as reason for the pronouncement on the tree.

Its not even fig season – indicates deeper meaning.

OT prophets used the fig tree in reference to Israel’s status before God. C.f. Jeremiah. 8:13

Destruction of a fig tree associated with judgment (Hos. 2:12)

Appears to be a prophetic statement about impending judgment.

The tree is judged because it looked promising, but in reality didn’t have any fruit.

Jesus contrasts appearance from a distance with reality revealed by closer inspection.

Illus.: The anticipation of Hadleys as we drove across the desert.

If all you have is leaves, and no fruit, expect judgment.

Now, with this in mind, notice what happens as Jesus proceeds to the temple, in Mark 11:15-19.

B. Jesus judges Israel for lack of fruit

Jesus comes to the temple area - large outer court, for gentiles (Non-jewish people)

A marketplace had been instituted - county fair and stock exchange. People bought animals for sacrifice, exchanged coins to pay temple tax.This was a new and shocking development. Certified markets existed on Mt. of Olives.

Illus: Like coming in here and having booths set up with estate planners and mutual fund sellers.

The court of the Gentiles was for Gentiles to pray, worship.

Jesus drives them out, a demonstration of zeal for God’s honor, for his name and his purposes.

He cites Isa. 56:7, which promised the Gentiles a place.

The Jews were insensitive to the holiness of the place and to the necessity of the Court of the Gentiles.

They misused the purpose of the temple (v. 17)

This is a parallel to the fig tree:

The Jews place huge importance on everything about the Temple, fanatically defended it, tons of pilgrims to it,

The magnificence of the Temple and ceremony conceals their lack of fruit – true righteousness.

Israel had impressive outward religion, but no fruit.

This action leads to the specific, fateful decision to have Jesus killed. The crowds were amazed by him, though.

Day 2 ends quietly, back to Bethany.

C. Jesus will judge us for not having fruit

Israel was judged because they appeared religious, but in reality had no genuine spiritual fruit.

We can be the same way, can’t we? We can look spiritual from a distance, but up close, the reality is we are spiritually bankrupt.

In fact, we try pretty hard to make sure our leaves look good

But when there is church attendance without devotion to Christ, or when we talk the talk, but don’t pray, love, serve, give, witness, etc., it is an indication that there is no fruit.

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