This morning I read from the Gospel of Mark, chapter 11, verses 12-19, where Jesus clears the temple. First things first….
On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus is hungry, and far in the distance, He sees a fig tree “in leaf” which means that is should have figs on it. Appearances, however, are deceiving…as Jesus and the boys close in, there is no fruit to be found, so Jesus curses it, telling it that it will never again bear fruit.
They arrive in Jerusalem and go right to the temple, where Jesus simply repeats the fig tree act, turning over tables, chasing people out, generally going cuckoo.
Get the connection between the two stories? From a distance..all looks well. The leafy fig tree should be bearing fruit, and the temple, from a distance should be a place of prayer, it was a hub of activity. But in both cases, upon closer inspection, nothing of the sort was happening.
And here’s my favorite part…the beginning of verse 17. It simply says, “And as He taught them…”
What was he saying as he rampaged through the temple?
Was he shouting? Yelling? Angry? Weeping in sadness?
This morning at our weekly men’s gathering at Perkins, we read from 1 John 3. Verse 18 says, “dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” While Jesus did indeed speak (both to the tree and in the marketplace), it was the actions and truth that demonstrated his love. The tree was done (see 11:20-26), and the marketplace and people were loved by having their sin put in their faces.
“And as he taught them…”
I wonder…do I look fruitful from afar?
How about our ministry?
My own life?
Lord Jesus…teach me.