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Matthew 21

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God doesn’t need a house to live in

Ø      Backpacking around the wilderness

§         Exodus 40:34 “the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.”

§         Eternity that is God – from nothingness made man

Ø      Solomon built a house

§         1 Kings 6:13 – Dwell among His people

§         The purpose of the temple

·        To come into the presence of the divine God

Ø      Not a civic organization – a holy meeting between God and humanity

Matthew 21:12-22 - Parable lived out

Ø      Most important messages last – deathbed instructions

Ø      GOD has a message that He wants you to hear

Ø      Son of David - Messianic king – comes to Jerusalem

§         Just had the last supper

§         Just raised Lazarus

§         Went directly to the temple

·        Center of Jewish faith.

·        Don’t miss this – God is in the temple

·        Clearing the temple

¨      Truth of Jesus’ identity if finally - public

¨      Will bring Jesus to the cross.

Ø      Purchasing animals in the temple– place of business. (12)

§         Den of thieves – verbatim from LXX – Jeremiah 7:11

·        Not about profiteering

·        Not about the corruption of the priesthood

·        It’s about failing to understand the fundamental significance of the temple

¨      It’s about - The broader failure of Israel

¨      It’s about - Not fulfilling God’s purpose and plan for the temple

Healing or hurting? (14-15)

Ø      Jesus - God

§         Heals the blind and the lame

·        They seek for Him – do we experience this today?

·        We ourselves do not give life

·        Jesus is the One who gives life

·        It is His presence that quickens us

§         Not just the physically wounded

·        Blindness is representative of sin in our lives

·        Inhibits relationship

§         Blessings of the kingdom – from a place of commerce to a place of healing

Ø      The priests react (15)

§         Priests shocked and offended - wrong conclusion

§         Expected Jesus to be shocked as well (16)

·        He says - From the mouth of babes

·        Points to - Rule of God - unhindered communion of God and humanity

¨      What the temple symbolized – realized in Jesus

Ø      But the children got it – probably mimicking earlier chants –

v     Jesus leaves from the temple (17)

Ø      Not time for confrontation

v     Returned – but not to the temple

The Fig Tree

Ø      Tree = Temple

Ø      Slow-growing trees -  years of patient labor (Pr. 27:18; Lk. 13:7),

§         Indigenous to Asia Minor

§         Makes a tree up to 11 m high, although it often as a shrub in rocky places.

§         Failure / destruction of fig trees was a national calamity

§         So important that Greeks -  special laws regulating export.

Ø      God’s promises - prosperity and prophetic warnings

§         Adam and Eve - clothed with fig leaves

Ø      Fruitful or just leafy? 

Disciples – then and now

Ø      Called to prayer:  The fig tree, the temple, and the child of God

Ø      Restore relationships:  Two seemingly unrelated stories

§         The Messiah is among his people in judgment and in healing.

·        Judgment against unfruitful Israel

·        Healing produces fruit – disciples then and now

Ø      Power of prayer to those who believe,

§         Promise is NOT

·        NOT to do anything you want

·        NOT perform any miracle

·        NOT astound the world with wonders - even miracles that make good sense (in terms of human need).

§         Promise IS

·        Miraculous power available to fulfill your call

¨      Christian life in fruitful discipleship.

¨      God will provide if you ask

¨      Miraculous character of - provision and answered prayer

¨       About the healing of our relationship with God

v     Question:  What can you do?

Ø      Answer:  We can move mountains. 

§         A stone at a time

·        And how many are we?

·        Does the pain in the world seem overwhelming?

·        Do you see the billions of unbelievers as a calling?  Or are there just too many?

Ø      Be present - like Jesus

§         Walk – with them through the hurt

Ø      Turn - hearts and minds outward in love

Ø      Lead a holy life

Ø      Healing – help people in practical ways

Ø      Pray

§         Holy Spirit

·        Given to dwell in your family and friends –

·        Lead in righteousness

§         How many Christians are praying?

Ø      Listen – to hurts and hearts

Ø      Help – them see past the lies they believe

Ø      Teach – them to pray

Ø      Read scripture – scripture reads us

§         In the process of wrestling with God’s Word come

·        Challenges - Encouragement

·        Inner blindness removed - Presuppositions confronted

·        Lame – weak thinking healed so that there is strength of character

§         Interacting with His word we are:

·        Re-formed / Trans-formed

·        Formed-anew

§         The more we know Him the more responsible we are to obey Him

·        For our own good - Desire not duty

·        Obedience is as much a prelude to understanding as it is a consequence of it

Do you realize that you are the temple of God?

Ø      Paul makes that clear in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 and 1 Corinthians 6:19

Ø      In Romans 8:11 he says the Spirit dwells in us

Ø      So we can look at this passage to find out what the temple is to be and what it is not to be

v     Called to be holy, healed, healing, fruitful

Ø      Are people meeting Jesus in your part of the Temple?

§         Jesus must be present – without Him you are an empty building

Ø      Are you a fruitless tree? 

§         What makes you feel significant? 

·        Money? 

·        If my kids turn out well?

·        If I excel at what I do?

§         He expects you to be more than a leafy tree – you are supposed to bear fruit

Ø      Remove the things inhibit our prayers being heard.  (people love the darkness)

§         Cut out anything that doesn’t produce fruit

§         Purge your own junk

§         He will help you toss whatever inhibits communion of humanity with God – call to holiness

§         Not by our power but by the power of the Holy One

Ø      Then the mountain moves

§         He will answer prayers that move mountains – you can’t move them but He can

Ø      Help people heal

§         He is offended by religiosity

§         He is not offended by the children

§         He will heal through you

Ø      Pray into the power of God

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