Intro: Mark; to recall who Jesus is, what it means to follow Him. Jesus has been revealed to be the
Messiah; (Peter's confession; Transfiguration.) Knowing He would die for His people's sins, Jesus rode into
Jerusalem on a donkey, symbolically declaring, "I'm the Messiah!" Today, you may disapprove of Jesus' behavior in
The Tree! (Read Mark 11:12-14.) On the way to Jerusalem, Jesus stops by a fig tree for some breakfast.
Even though it's not the right season, Jesus curses the tree, right in front of His disciples: "May no one ever
eat fruit from you again!" Surprising behavior! But this isn't the most surprising thing Jesus did!
The Temple! (Read Mark 11:15-19.) Jesus enters the temple and starts to clean house! Why? Quotes Isaiah 56:7,
describing God's goal for the temple, a light for the Gentiles. But Israel has turned the temple into "a den of
robbers," (quoting Jeremiah 7:11.) Religious leaders are plotting His death, but Jesus has the prophetic
legacy and moral authority for His surprising behavior. But even wrecking the temple isn't the most surprising
thing Jesus did!
The Tree and the Temple! (Read Mark 11:20-23.)
The next day, Peter notices the cursed fig tree is dead. Jesus' surprising response deepens the mystery: "Have
faith in God! If you have faith, you can command this mountain to throw itself into the sea!" Putting
pieces together: Cursed fig tree. Wrecked temple. This mountain (the temple mountain!) thrown into sea.
Three different pictures predicting God's judgment on Israel's temple. But even predicting the end of the
earthly temple isn't the most surprising thing Jesus did!
The Transition! (Read Mark 11:22-25.) Jesus teaches His disciples that, as we exercise faith in God, we can ask,
and expect, God to do seemingly impossible things if they're in line with His will. Jesus also teaches that God
will not answer the prayers of a heart unwilling to forgive others. But this teaching is based on a surprising
transition: The temple is no longer a place, it is a people! What is the most surprising thing that Jesus did?
He relocated the place of prayer, (the temple,) from an earthly location, to His followers! (Read John 4:19-23;
Acts 2:1-4; I
Application: Surprise! Jesus relocated the temple! If you are a Christian, then you and I
are the temple of God! How does that reality affect your living? Your praying? Your forgiving?