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Matthew 21

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1)      God doesn’t need a house to live in

a)      Backpacking around the wilderness

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

ii)      Eternity that is God – from nothingness made man

b)      Solomon built a house

i)        1 Kings 6:13 – Dwell among His people

ii)      The purpose of the temple

(1)   To come into the presence of the divine God

c)      Not a civic organization – a holy meeting between God and humanity

2)     Matthew 21:12-22 - Parable lived out

a)      Most important messages last – deathbed instructions

b)      GOD has a message that He wants you to hear

c)      Son of David - Messianic king – comes to Jerusalem

i)        Just had the last supper

ii)      Just raised Lazarus

iii)    Went directly to the temple

(1)   Center of Jewish faith.

(2)   Don’t miss this – God is in the temple

(3)   Clearing the temple

(a)    Truth of Jesus’ identity if finally - public

(b)   Will bring Jesus to the cross.

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

i)        Den of thieves – verbatim from LXX – Jeremiah 7:11

(1)   Not about profiteering

(2)   Not about the corruption of the priesthood

(3)   It’s about failing to understand the fundamental significance of the temple

(a)    It’s about - The broader failure of Israel

(b)   It’s about - Not fulfilling God’s purpose and plan for the temple

3)     Healing or hurting? (14-15)

a)     Jesus - God

i)        Heals the blind and the lame

(1)   They seek for Him – do we experience this today?

(2)   We ourselves do not give life

(3)   Jesus is the One who gives life

(4)   It is His presence that quickens us

ii)      Not just the physically wounded

(1)   Blindness is representative of sin in our lives

(2)   Inhibits relationship

iii)    Blessings of the kingdom – from a place of commerce to a place of healing

b)     The priests react (15)

i)        Priests shocked and offended - wrong conclusion

ii)      Expected Jesus to be shocked as well (16)

(1)   He says - From the mouth of babes

(2)   Points to - Rule of God - unhindered communion of God and humanity

(a)    What the temple symbolized – realized in Jesus

c)      But the children got it – probably mimicking earlier chants –

4)      ----

5)      Jesus leaves from the temple (17)

a)      Not time for confrontation

6)      Returned – but not to the temple

7)     The Fig Tree

a)      Tree = Temple

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

i)        Indigenous to Asia Minor

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

iii)    Failure / destruction of fig trees was a national calamity

iv)    So important that Greeks -  special laws regulating export.

c)      God’s promises - prosperity and prophetic warnings

i)        Adam and Eve - clothed with fig leaves

d)     Fruitful or just leafy? 

8)     Disciples – then and now

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

b)      Restore relationships:  Two seemingly unrelated stories

i)        The Messiah is among his people in judgment and in healing.

(1)   Judgment against unfruitful Israel

(2)   Healing produces fruit – disciples then and now

c)      Power of prayer to those who believe,

i)        Promise is NOT

(1)   NOT to do anything you want

(2)   NOT perform any miracle

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

ii)      Promise IS

(1)   Miraculous power available to fulfill your call

(a)    Christian life in fruitful discipleship.

(b)   God will provide if you ask

(c)    Miraculous character of - provision and answered prayer

(d)    About the healing of our relationship with God

9)     Question:  What can you do?

a)      Answer:  We can move mountains. 

i)        A stone at a time

(1)   And how many are we?

(2)   Does the pain in the world seem overwhelming?

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

b)      Be present - like Jesus

i)        Walk – with them through the hurt

c)      Turn - hearts and minds outward in love

d)      Lead a holy life

e)      Healing – help people in practical ways

f)       Pray

i)        Holy Spirit

(1)   Given to dwell in your family and friends –

(2)   Lead in righteousness

ii)      How many Christians are praying?

g)      Listen – to hurts and hearts

h)      Help – them see past the lies they believe

i)        Teach – them to pray

j)        Read scripture – scripture reads us

i)        In the process of wrestling with God’s Word come

(1)   Challenges - Encouragement

(2)   Inner blindness removed - Presuppositions confronted

(3)   Lame – weak thinking healed so that there is strength of character

ii)      Interacting with His word we are:

(1)   Re-formed / Trans-formed

(2)   Formed-anew

iii)    The more we know Him the more responsible we are to obey Him

(1)   For our own good - Desire not duty

(2)   Obedience is as much a prelude to understanding as it is a consequence of it

10)  Do you realize that you are the temple of God?

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

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

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

11)  ----

12)  Called to be holy, healed, healing, fruitful

a)      Are people meeting Jesus in your part of the Temple?

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

b)      Are you a fruitless tree? 

i)        What makes you feel significant? 

(1)   Money? 

(2)   If my kids turn out well?

(3)   If I excel at what I do?

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

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

i)        Cut out anything that doesn’t produce fruit

ii)      Purge your own junk

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

iv)    Not by our power but by the power of the Holy One

d)      Then the mountain moves

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

e)      Help people heal

i)        He is offended by religiosity

ii)      He is not offended by the children

iii)    He will heal through you

f)       Pray into the power of God

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