Evangelical Community Chapel at Liberal: a Molalla, Oregon Church

Molalla, Oregon

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Walking with Jesus may be hazardous

April 5th, 2009 by Vic

Mark 11

Our culture is addicted to information.  We have an information overload.  I get caught up in that mindset and think I can just give you information.  But in the midst of all this information, the gospel is simple and can change your life.

It seems that Satan is using the flood of information to inoculate us to what is important.  A lot of stuff we do not need to know.  Jesus is on the throne and living today, but Hebrews 6:6 says there is a danger that I can crucify Him again in my heart.  We are not looking for God’s activity.  We don’t recognize signs of the times.  We seem to desire a lot of trivia information, but little about God and His ways.

Maybe I am like the followers of Jesus that enjoyed the entertaining events.  I hang around Jesus and His disciples while truth is being unjustly tried.

In a sense the cross is now.  What Jesus did on the cross, He is doing now.  What men did to Jesus on the cross they are doing now.  The same injustice is in our world.  The same immature disciples are in our churches.  Are we them?

If Christ were to come today, what would we do with Him?  But He has come!  He is here!  What are we doing?

Jesus now lives in a glorified body so He is not continually shedding His blood.  But He still suffers when God’s will and ways are hindered.  Spiritually He is crucified when men’s hearts refuse to accept Him.  I suspect that Jesus is weeping and suffering as He looks over Oregon just like He did when He looked over Jerusalem.  Is He pleased when He looks over our homes?

Are we like Mark, a secret follower, a disciple at a distance?  He wanted to be with Jesus, but when things got a little hot, he ran off.  He had given Jesus the use of His home and probably a lot of money, but he ran when the going got tough.  Are we really much different?

Peter too is not much different than we are.  We have tricky little ways of denying Jesus.  Sometimes we are silent when we should speak.  Sometimes we talk too much.

Judas may have loved the Lord, but he was a fanatical nationalist who wanted to speed up the liberation of the Jews.  He did not do it for money, but for his country.  He wanted to force Jesus’ to be the Messiah.  He was taking things in his own hands.  He was impatient with Jesus.  God’s will and His ways seemed to be moving too slowly.  Judas thought he could manipulate the circumstances so Jesus would have to take some military action.

Pilate was unable to discern truth, and when he did, he lacked the courage to do what he knew was right.  He let people push him around.  He got trapped in his own compromises.  He was like us when we let people, possessions, and selfish desires determine our choices.

If you were one of the 12, what would you have done?  You are doing right now what you have done then.  Your commitment to Christ today is what it would have been then.

There was an interesting crowd of pilgrims following Jesus into Jerusalem.  They had mixed motives.  Where do we see ourselves in the crowd?

Mark 11:1-6

Two disciples are sent on a ‘faith mission’.  Bethany is 2 ½ miles from Jerusalem.  The Mt of Olives is 2,600’ above sea level.  Jericho is 15 miles east and 1,200’ below sea level.  If you walk from Government Camp to Timberline, it is less than 2,000’ elevation increase.  So do that twice in one day and tell me your feelings when you get to Mary, Martha, and Lazarus’ home.  Then Jesus says we need to go into Jerusalem and 2 of you need to go to Bethphage.  Go get me a colt to ride on when we go to Jerusalem.  Who volunteers?

Zech 9:9 says your king is coming to you humbly riding on a donkey.  Kings went to war on horses but came in peace on donkeys.  Jesus is claiming to be the King of Peace.  The Jews wanted a king that would conquer and rule.  Simon Maccabaeus entered Jerusalem 150 years earlier after he had defeated the Romans.  He entered as king with palm branches, harps, shouts, and songs.  The religious leaders also made him high priest.

Had Jesus planned ahead and arranged for this colt or did the owner have a vision from God the night before?

The 2 disciples go in simple obedience to their Lord’s word and every detail was as the Lord had said.  When they were asked by the neighbors what they were doing, they said, “The Lord has need of it.”  This colt had been prepared for such a time as this.  No one had ridden it yet.  It was symbolically pure.

What about your life?  Have you been prepared for such a time as this?  Does Jesus have a need for you or something you have?  Are you willing to let it go?

He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  Does he need your lunch?  Your boat?  Your home?  Your tomb?  Your donkey?  Your time?

Mark 11:7-11

The gospel of John tells us that a lot of people came out of Jerusalem to join with the pilgrims who had been following Jesus.  This is a big victory parade.  John also tells us that Jesus weeps over the city.  The Jews could have known that this was going to be a special day.  Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.  The crowds cry out Psalm 118:25.  They were hoping for a fulfillment of this OT prophecy.  They were declaring Jesus king.  The word ‘hosanna’ means save now.

The first thing He does is go directly to the temple.  He did not go to the Roman Fortress Antonia or to Herod’s palace.  His first concern was religious, not political.  He was concerned about the faith of the people more than the fate of the nation.

All good kings of Judah purified the temple.  Malachi 3:1-4 says the coming king will purify the temple.  If Jesus was concerned about purifying the earthly temple, how much more is He now concerned about the church and your life as the temple of God?

Daniel 9:24-27 is telling us something about the second coming and the first coming of Jesus.  “So you are to know and discern.”  Pay attention!  The Messiah will come in 69 weeks of years.

Artaxerxes 1 made a decree to rebuild Jerusalem March 15, 445 BC.  He sent Nehemiah with authority and resources.  69 times 7 is 483 years.  Some Bible scholars say that day is April 6, a.d. 32, Palm Sunday.  Luke 19:42, “O Jerusalem, if only you had known in this day.”

Mark 13 says we can know the times and seasons of Jesus’ second coming, but we cannot know the day and hour.  It looks like the Jews could have known the exact day for the first coming.

When Jesus goes into the temple and looks around, I wonder if He was looking to see if someone would recognize Him?  The temple area is about 35 acres.  That is about the same size as Mike’s farm across the road.  Can you picture that acreage covered with paving stones?  The temple was about 30’x90’x60’.  The holy of holies was a 30’ cube.  There were 100 columns that were over 100’ high and some reached 150’.  Herod had made the temple area bigger than Solomon’s.  There was a porch clear around the walls.  The Stoa porch on the south and Solomon’s porch on the east were expanded for large gatherings.

Mark 11:12-14

Jesus never used His power to meet His own needs and desires.  He could have made figs from the leaves.  So was he hungry for physical food or fruit of the Spirit?  Was it a hunger for God to be glorified?  According to verse 22 Jesus is using this event to help the disciples have more faith in God.

The vine and the fig tree were symbols of the nation of Israel.

The season for figs was not until late May and June.  Passover was in April.  For some reason the tree displayed an outward promise of fruit.  Tyndale’s commentary says there are small early figs that ripen with the leaves, before the main crop.  If only leaves appeared, without the early figs, that tree would bear no figs that year at all.  Is Jesus making a point about trees that only pretend to have good fruit coming?

Mark 11:15-18

Why did Jesus wait for the next day to symbolically clean the temple?  He was modeling for us the right behavior.  He was under control of His anger.  Godly anger is under control.

He wouldn’t let anyone carry sacrifices.  He stopped the sacrificial system.  Sacrifices had lost their meaning and Jesus said stop.

Verse 17 should be ‘robbers’.  The robber (lemises) conducts his operations on a large and systematic scale often with the aid of other robbers.  The thief (kleptes) steals and robs whatever is currently available.

The court of the Gentiles had become secularized.  The leaders rented out shop areas.  Every Jew had to pay an annual temple tax in the temple coinage, without Caesar’s image on it.  Their exchange rate could exceed 100%, maybe a half day’s wage.  Then they had to buy a dove that could be 500% of what one would cost outside the gates.  The pilgrims were being cheated by religious leaders in the place that represented God’s presence.  They were being used and manipulated as consumers!

Jesus was angry at the exploitation of pilgrims.  Jesus was angry at the secularization of the sacred.  Jesus was angry that Gentiles did not have a quiet place to worship.  Jesus was angry that God was not being honored.

What made the Pharisees and priests angry?  Noisy children.  Healing on the Sabbath.  Someone else gaining popularity.  What makes you angry?

Mark 11:19

Jesus now had enemies behind every column.

Mark 11:20-26

Apparently it is the timing that amazed Peter.  Lord, look how quickly your prayer was answered!

Hebrews 11:1 says that faith is the title deed of things hoped for.  Faith guarantees ownership even though you may not have it in your actual possession.  Even though the answer may be delayed, faith is the title deed that guarantees the answer.  Jesus says have faith in God.

We can only move mountains that God wants removed, not those that we want moved.  Moving mountains was a phrase used by the rabbis to describe overcoming seemingly impossible difficulties.  We use it that way today too.  It probably won’t be a literal mountain.

Our prayers for moving mountains are hindered by unforgiveness.

Mark 27-33

The chief priests, the scribes, and elders composed the ruling council of Israel.  This group had the power to judge both religious and civil matters.  They claimed the right to expel people from the synagogue and temple.

Jesus asked them a question to expose how empty of authority these leaders really were.  If John had come from men he would have had no authority or power.  But these men had rejected the obvious authority of God for the opinion of men.  They did not want to know the truth.  If you reject the truth of God revealed in John the Baptist you can’t see the truth of God in Jesus.

If you don’t act on the truth you know, you will not receive more truth and you are in danger of losing the truth you have.  Sometimes we do a lot of twisting and wiggling to avoid facing the truth.

Don’t play games with Jesus.  Notice the questions He asks in the next chapter.

12:9 What will the owner of the vineyard do?

12:10 Have you not even read this Scripture?

12:15 Why are you testing Me?

12:16 Whose likeness and inscription is this?

12:24 Is this not the reason you are mistaken…?

12:26 Have you no read in the book of Moses?

12:35 How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?

Are you happy with your life?  Are you content with your understanding of current events?  Do you want to know more trivia or facts that will change your life?  Do you really want to see what God is doing?  Read your Bible.  Watch and pray.  Meditate on His Word.  Obey and act on the truth you do understand.  A lot is happening in our world today.  Where is God in all this?

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