Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Jesus' Triumphal Entry, Temple Cleansing, Teaching, and Authority (Mark 11)

Scripture: Mark 11
Translation: 11.1And when they were getting close to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, He sent two of His followers. 2And He said to them. “Go into the village that’s in front of you, and immediately when you go into, you will find a young donkey, tied up, that no one among men has sat on yet. Untie it and bring [it]. 3And if anyone would say to you, ‘why are you doing this,’ say ‘The Lord needs it.’ And immediately send it here again.” 4And they left and found a young donkey tied up near a door outside on the street and they untied it. 5And some of the people standing there were saying to them, “What are you doing untying the young donkey?” 6And they told them just like Jesus told [them]. And they let them. 7And they brought the young donkey to Jesus and they put their coats on it, and He sat on it. 8And many people spread their coats on the road with others cutting off leafy branches from the fields. 9And the people who went ahead and the people following were shouting, “Hosaana! The One coming in the Name of the Lord is blessed! 10The coming Kingdom of our father David is blessed! Hosanna in the highest places!” 11And He went into Jerusalem, into the Temple. And looking around at everything, with the time being late, He left for Bethany with the Twelve. 12And on the next day when they went out from Bethany, He felt hungry. 13And seeing a fig tree from a long way away that had leaves, He went, if then He will find something on it. And coming to it, He found nothing except leaves, because it wasn’t time for figs. 14And in response He said to it, “May no one ever eat from you any longer!” And His followers were listening. 15And they were coming into Jerusalem. And when came into the Temple, He began to throw out those selling and those buying in the Temple, and flipped the tables of the money-changers and the chairs of those selling the pigeons. 16And He didn't let anyone carry a thing through the temple. 17And He was teaching and saying to them, “Isn’t it written that “My House will be called a house of prayer for all nations”? But you really have made it “a hideout for muggers!” 18And the chief-priests and scholars heard and they were looking for how they could destroy Him, because they were scared of Him, because the whole crowd was really impressed at His teaching. 19And when it became evening, they traveled outside of the city. 20And passing by early in the morning they saw the fig tree completely withered from the roots. 21And having remembered, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree, which you cursed, really is withered!” 22And to answer Jesus was saying to them, “Have faith in God. 23Amen, I’m telling you that whoever would say to this mountain ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea’ and wouldn’t doubt in his heart, but would trust that what he speaks happens, it will happen for him. 24Because of this I’m telling you all things—as many things as you pray and ask for—believe that you will receive, and it will happen for you. 25And whenever you stand praying, forgive if you have anything against someone, so that your Father, The One in the Heavens would forgive you your violations.” 27And they came again into Jerusalem. And when He was walking around the Temple, the chief-priests and scholars and elders came to him. 28And they were saying to Him, “By what kind of authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority, so that you would be doing these things?” 29And Jesus said to them, “I’ll ask you one explanation, and you will answer Me, and I will tell you by what kind of authority I’m doing these things. 30Was the Baptism that John did from Heaven or from humans? Answer me.” 31And they were discussing with themselves saying “If we say ‘from Heaven’, He will say ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 32but could we say ‘from humans?’” They were being afraid of the crowd, because absolutely all the people really held about John that he was a prophet.33And to answer they were saying to Jesus, “We don’t know. And Jesus was saying to them, “Then I’m not telling you by what authority I’m doing these things.”   
1.      Structure
a.       Triumphal Entry (vv.1-11)
b.      Fig Tree Part 1 (vv.12-14)
c.       Temple Cleansing and Teaching (vv.15-19)
d.      Fig Tree Part 2:Have Faith (vv.20-25)
e.       Temple Confrontation: By What Kind of Authority (vv.26-33)
2.      Themes
a.       Jesus is the Messiah, Kingly and Priestly
b.      Conflict
c.       Faith
d.      Blessing
e.       Young donkey
f.       Lordship of Jesus
g.      Authority
h.      fig tree /withered fig tree
i.        Temple
3.      Doctrines
a.       Jesus is the Messiah, King and Priest of the Nation
b.      God must be trusted
c.       Jesus is worthy of praise
d.      Jesus is humble
e.       Jesus is Omniscient
1.      Sermon Outline
a.       We must worship Jesus as our Humble Messiah
                                                              i.      What Jesus shows us by riding on the young donkey that’s never been ridden on is that He is both worthy of honor, but humble in attitude
                                                            ii.      We should worship Him as God because He knows the future—He knows everything
                                                          iii.      He is the Messiah, He is the One we should trust to save us and rule us!
                                                          iv.      We should praise Him, excited to see Him save us and to rule over us! He is worship-worthy because He is God’s Representative, and He is God’s King. He is also worthy of worship because He is One Who makes our worship possible, and Who focuses our worship on the Father
                                                            v.      All of this shows Jesus’ worthiness of worship and His humility
b.      We must make our worship accessible to all and directed towards God
                                                              i.      Cf. illustration #1
                                                            ii.      So it appears that Jesus’ real problem with all this buying and selling is not so much that it is happening in the Temple, although that was part of it, but more about what that buying and selling meant for the people who wanted to come and worship God, and the way that the buying and selling was happening
                                                          iii.      See, by making the non-Jewish area of the Temple into a market it was keeping non-Jewish people from worshiping God. Jesus’ problem was that they were keeping people from be able to come and worship God with God’s people.
1.      So what does this mean for us? What we need to ask ourselves is what are doing on purpose or even by accident that is keeping people from worshiping God, and even more specifically what are we doing that is keeping our group from making our worship services accessible to all kinds of people, people of different ethnicities, cultures, backgrounds?
2.      But it also means we should ask what are we doing to make it open and available for all kinds of people, what are we doing to make our worship services really about worship?
                                                          iv.      The other problem was the way people were buying and selling—they were obsessed with money so much that they were ripping people off so that they could worship God. Thus, the problem was that people were in the Temple worshiping the wrong things: money, convenience,
1.      What are we worshipping? Are we really worshiping God? Or are we worshiping comfort? Entertainment? Money? Music? Phones? Serving? Socializing?
2.      Or are we here to draw close to God? To worship Him, to love Him, to glorify Him, to get to know Him, to live for Him?
                                                            v.      This means that we don’t need to be so worried about whether we sell stuff in the church building or use the church building for non-churchy purposes (and by the way what is Spiritual and secular is often really hard to figure out)
                                                          vi.      We need to worry about whether we are here to worship God and to help and bring others here to worship God.
c.       We must have faith when pray as well as forgive others
                                                              i.      Jesus’ whole story about cursing the fig tree is an illustration of the power of praying with total faith
                                                            ii.      Sometimes we are amazed when God answers someone’s prayers, but we shouldn’t be
                                                          iii.      Instead, we should the ones sharing in their faith that God will answer. Jesus tells us that we just have to actually believe that God will answer our prayers without doubting, no matter how impossible it might seem, and God will answer. God answers prayers when they are fueled by faith, but usually doesn’t if they are fueled with doubt or skepticism
1.      This means that we should pray crazy prayers! Totally trusting that God will answer
2.      One of those prayers should be that God would use us to tell others about Who He is and What He’s done, because let’s face it, it’s pretty hard for us to talk to non-Christians about Jesus and invite them to follow Him too or even just to invite them to church. And it even more impossible for them to actually be interested in Jesus or even be willing to show up in church. But those are prayers that we know we can pray with confidence, because 1) we know God has told us to talk to people; 2) we know God wants to save people
                                                          iv.      However, there is a kind of prayer that you and I can totally believe God can and will answer, but still have God deny answering.
                                                            v.      That prayer is a prayer for forgiveness. And God has put an additional requirement for that kind of prayer: that we would have forgiven others their sins against us
1.      Cf. illustration #2
d.      We must recognize Jesus’ authority is from God as well as expect the same opposition to our work for God in the world that Jesus experienced
                                                              i.      Jesus is brilliant. He’s always got a perfect answer. He is Lord over questions, Lord over His Opposition. He never loses.
                                                            ii.      The whole point of this story is a way to show that Jesus really does have God’s authority, that He really is the Messiah, that He really is worthy of faith and worship.
                                                          iii.      Jesus’ opposition is there to accuse Him of being a liar or evil person, not the Messiah from God. However, Jesus’ message that He is the Messiah is not the first message that these people refused to believe. John the Baptist’s message that Jesus was the Messiah was what they rejected first, that John the Baptist was a prophet at all, they rejected. However, they can’t say that, so they lie and pretend like they don’t have a clear opinion, so Jesus refuses to answer their question. At least directly, however, next week we’ll see Him tell as story that explains His authority’s origin as well as the evil nature of His opposition
                                                          iv.      For today, what we need to recognize is that Jesus really has God’s Authority. Jesus’ acts as God’s Representative. We should worship Jesus for that.
                                                            v.      However, we should also realize that Jesus has made us His representatives in the world. This means that we are sent out to do His Will in the World with His Authority, which is God’s authority. So, we never have to be afraid about whether when we do God’s will in this world if we are allowed. God has allowed us, and He is the one Who really matters
                                                          vi.      But this work for God through Jesus in the world will likely result in the same thing that Jesus experienced: OPPOSITION.
                                                        vii.      So we shouldn’t freak out when talking about Jesus and being a visible Christian gets us in trouble, or when doing what God wants us to do gets us in trouble. We need to expect to experience what Jesus did, because we have been given Jesus’ will to do.
                                                      viii.      And Jesus gives us a good way to respond when someone says “What gives you the right to do/say this?” We can answer their question with a question. Sometimes we can throw their question back at them, sometime we might want to answer a question with a different question. But don’t think that you always have to answer immediately or directly.
2.      Questions
a.       Are we worshiping Jesus passionately here at church? What about in our everyday lives?
b.      What do you think sometimes crowds out our worship at church? At school? At work?
c.       What are some things you trust God to answer when you pray? What are some things you don’t trust Him to answer?
d.      Have you ever faced opposition for being a Christian or for living out your Christian life? When? Where? Why? What did you do?
1.      We need to understand the difference between the Temple and a church building if we want to know what Jesus is doing and what we should be doing.
a.       The first difference is that the Temple was a special building where God was present in a special way, and it was the only building like it in the world, but the church building is not where God’s Temple is now, as we already learned when talking about sex, God’s current place where He lives in a special way is in us. Instead the church building is where Christians gather to worship God and carry out His mission. The Temple was like a true worship center, but the church is more like a base of operations
b.      The Temple had certain areas for different groups of people: the Jewish Men’s area, the Jewish women’s area, and the non-Jewish area; but our churches, except for our bathrooms, are really open for all kinds of people and genders. The problem seems to be that the Jews were taking over the non-Jewish area so that they could rip people off and get rich
c.       The Temple had special rules for what kinds of things could even be in it, but church buildings are not defileable.

2.      Imagine a monster with two heads, the one keeps saying “love me!” but the other head keeps saying “I hate everybody” or imagine if you had two mouths and they both could speak at the same time: the one prays “God forgive me” while the other one says “I can never forgive so and so!” That would look ridiculous! But that is exactly what God sees when He looks into our hearts that are asking for forgiveness but at the same time denying to give it to someone else 

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