This chapter seems to be written in chiastic (or sandwich) structure:
- Jesus enters Jerusalem as a gentle king and is praised by the people
- Jesus curses the fig tree – no fruit
- Jesus cleanses the temple – no prayer
- Jesus explains the fig tree – his disicples will pray, bear fruit and forgive
- Jesus kingly authority questioned by religious leaders
- Jesus prepares to come into Jerusalem as a humble king (see also Matt. 21:5)
- The people receive Jesus as their king, praising Him, believing in the coming of David’s kingdom.
- Jesus is hungry, inspects a fig tree and then curses it - no fruit
- Right after that he enters the temple and takes action to clear out all who are buying and selling
- He quotes Isaiah 56:7 saying God house was to be a house of prayer for all the nations but they had made it a den of robbers – no good fruit
- the chief priests and scribes don’t repent but plan how to destroy Jesus – no good fruit
- The next day Peter notices that the fig tree is withered just as Jesus had asked.
- Jesus begins teaching on prayer and faith in God: ask, don’t doubt, believe and God will grant
- When praying forgive and God will forgive you
- This is reminiscent of the dedication of the temple in 1 Kings 8:22-53 – pray and receive forgiveness
- The temple was supposed to be a place of prayer, but it was a den for robbers and bore no fruit.
- Just like the fig tree could no longer bear fruit, so too the temple would no longer bear fruit
- Instead, Jesus planned to have a new temple for the Spirit… his disciples, who could pray and bear fruit and be vessels of forgiveness for God’s kingdom.
- At the end of the passage, Jesus authority is questioned by the religious leaders. They do not welcome him as king as the others had done at the beginning of this chapter.
- Jesus arrives in Jerusalem as a gentle king. He is my king. Am I trusting in and submitting to His authority and following His instructions? How often do I offer up praise to my King and my God?
- We are God’s new temple, created to be a house of prayer. What am I currently asking God for? What mountains need to be removed so that people can know God more? Will I be faithful this week to daily pray for those I shepherd and the lost I hope to reach?
- We are God’s new temple, created to be vessels that give and receive forgiveness. Are there any roots of bitterness or resentment, indicating I need to forgive someone? Is there anything I need to confess to God and receive His forgiveness?
Lord, Thank you for being my king and my God. I praise your name and thank you that you love me, died for me, and want a relationship with me. I praise you for your grace and forgiveness for all the bad choices that I have made. I praise that you can help me each day to love You and love others. I praise you that ride on the heavens to help me when I am anxious or troubled or need your help. Thank you for all the ways you have actively intervened in my life. I want to submit to your loving rule in my life. Help me to hear your voice and follow your lead. Today I know that you are asking me to pray. So I pray for all the kids and volunteers who are coming to Gateway Summer Camp. I ask that you would move all mountains and barriers so that kids can know how good You are. I ask boldly for their salvation. I pray that among them you would raise up leaders for the cause of Christ. I pray that your word would fall on rich soil and bear a crop 30, 60 or 100 fold. And lastly, Lord I pray that we at Trinity church would be people who both give and receive forgiveness. I pray where there are roots of bitterness or resentment among us I pray that we would forgive and seek peace and reconciliation. And I pray that you would show us both our sins of commission and sins of omission and we would repent and sin no more by your grace.
Posted on Wed, July 29, 2015
by Brian Landers