The Week that Jesus Changed the World
by Wendy Fitzgerald
The day after Jesus’ exciting arrival in Jerusalem, the Bible says that Jesus and His disciples went to the temple. On the way to the temple, they passed a fig tree.
Read Matthew 21:18-19 and Mark 11:12-14
What did the tree look like from a distance? __________________
When Jesus got to the tree, what did He find? _________________
Matthew tells us that Jesus was hungry so He went to the tree to get a fig, but the tree had no fruit. The tree was full of leaves and looked as if it should have fruit, but upon close examination, there was no fruit to be had.
According to Proverbs 11:30, what does the fruit of the righteous look like? __________
What does the second half Proverbs 11:30 say?_________________________________
Jesus approached a tree that looked like it was alive and healthy, but it had no fruit. Without fruit, a tree will eventually die because there is no life being produced by the tree. In this passage, Jesus cursed the tree because of the inability to bear fruit and then continued on His way to the temple. When they arrived at the temple, what did Jesus do according to:
Matthew 21:12 __________________________________________________
Mark 11:15 ___________________________________________________
Luke 19:45 ___________________________________________________
In each verse, we see that He entered and began driving out. At first glance, the disciples might have been thinking that Jesus was just in a bad mood. First He had cursed a tree, and then He gets angry in the temple. However, from our perspective, we have a different vantage point. We know that this is the week of Christ’s death. The disciples did not yet understand this. We know that Jesus was giving important final instructions. He was preparing to leave His disciples. He wanted them to focus on the important. They had no time to waste! So, what did He do? He showed them, first in the tree and then in the temple, what it looked like not to produce fruit.
Why was Jesus so angry in the temple? He was angry because the religious rulers of the day had changed the focus of the temple. In Jeremiah 7:11, Jeremiah questioned the Israelites with the same question that Jesus quoted. Jeremiah said, “Has my house become a den of robbers to you?” In Matthew 21:13, Jesus said, “It is written…My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” By quoting the verses from Jeremiah to the religious rulers of the day, Jesus was comparing their current respect of the temple to their ancestors at the time of Jeremiah. Both Jeremiah and Jesus were dealing with people that looked good on the outside when they went into the temple. They knew how to appear as if they honored God, but their lives and the intent of their heart did not bear the fruit of true God followers. It was empty religion.
What exactly is a “Den of Robbers?” It is the place that thieves feel safe. It is their hideout. How about you? Is church your hideout? Do you feel safe at church because you look good in outward appearances? Does your life reflect the persona that you wear when you are in the church? If not, God longs for you to follow Him in every detail of your life. He knows that when we follow Him in all details, we will have the fruit of life that is talked about in Proverbs 11:30.
The second half of Proverbs 11:30 says, “…he who wins souls is wise.” If your life is bearing fruit, then you long for others to experience this life as well. This week, as we prepare for the arrival of Easter, is there anyone that you know who needs to experience the true life that only God can give? As a Christian, you are God’s house, for the Holy Spirit lives in you. Do you live as a house of prayer? Jesus said that His house would be a house of prayer. Please take some time this week and pray for God to use your life to bring life to the people around you. Who does God want you to reach this week?
Two Minutes of Prayer:
Day One: One minute praising God for sending His Son to be our Messiah.
Day Two: Add one minute asking God to show you who to pray for and invite to church