Title: Fruity Christianity
Focus: In order for worship to be acceptable to God, it has to go beyond acclamation such as the crowd in the triumphal entry, and involve fruitfulness unlike the fig tree. This fruitfulness has to do with justice and mercy.
Function: To motivate the hearers to actively seek to love justice and mercy in a practical way with people they know.
Text: Mark 11:1-21
Intro: 1. Term: “Fruity” usually has a frivolous negative 2. Chapter 10 ends the section on radical discipleship 3. Chapter 11 - 13 all deal with the temple 4. These passages will have implications for our worship to God I. The triumphal entry (11:1-11) A. What is this all about? 1. Included in all the Gospels, it is something that impressed them 2. Why did the people get so excited? B. Details of this event are significant 1. Was to use a colt that was never riden a. Unbroken animal, sacred use (1 Sam 6:7; 2 Sam 5:1ff Num 19:2; Dt 21:3) b. Rabbinic tradition - no one but a king can ride his horse 2. Jesus made a production of his entry into Jerusalem a. Unlike the past, where he tried to lay low b. (Zech 9:9) considered a messianic passage c. So the people spread out the “red carpet” d. Processional before and after him 3. They quoted from a Hallal Psalm (118:25-26) a. Hosanna! “Please save!” b. This is a thanksgiving Psalm for God’s lovingkindness C. Do you like to see a parade? 1. We will sit in the rain and cold 2. We wave and cheer for our heroes in the procession 3. The soldiers, pow’s, firemen, policemen, leaders, etc. 4. The people LOVED Jesus’ parade! D. The people finally get it, and respond appropriately?? Or do they?? 1. They expect a nationalistic purging of Gentiles 2. BUT Jesus is not on a horse, but a donkey a. Horse was magnificent animal of war b. Donkey an animal of peace, not go to war with them c. There is no army behind Jesus, no ranks to inspect d. So really, this entry is not “triumphal” after all 3. They don’t see this, they see the Messiah approaching Zion! a. Psalm 2 says to watch out O kings of the earth! b. Yahweh’s king is here! 4. What does he do??? We wait breathlessly a. Deliver a rousing speech? Rallies for war? b. Comes to Zion and takes his throne? c. Looks around & leaves because it is late. Late for what? d. Let’s see....... II. They get up and start for Jerusalem from Bethany (v.12) A. He does something very strange - Curses a fig tree (v.12-14) 1. Figs out of season, does he expect them all year around? 2. Maybe this is a message - No fruit from God’s people 3. What about the parade yesterday??? Wasn’t that fruit? B. Jesus continues to be violent when he arrives at the temple (v.15-21) 1. Cast out the merchants and money changers. Why? a. Weren’t they providing a valuable service? b. Change foreign money to pay temple tax c. Provided certified clean animals for sacrifice d. But Jesus would not even permit carrying vessels 2. Was he trying to cleanse the temple from price gouging? a. Merchants typically charged absorbant prices b. Animals people brought in they declared unclean, so you HAD to buy one of theirs c. 1000’s of people came, imagine the scene 3. (Amos 8:1-6) - Jesus stood in the tradition of Amos a. People who oppressed, God destroyed b. (Am 5:21-23) - God rejected their worship C. Have you ever gotten a warning ticket? 1. Feel so relieved, didn’t derserve it, but you got it 2. If you repeatedly got pulled over for same thing, what happen? 3. No warning, you’d get zapped 4. That is what happened in Amos, and what is happening here D. Is he trying to cleanse and reform the temple? 1. Notice the reaction from the people: Astonishment, not cheers a. Temple was the foundation of who they were b. It was religious, political, social, economic center c. Jesus is attacking that d. ILL: How would you feel about flag burner? 2. Jesus is showing his rejecting for the WHOLE thing 3. He will later prophesy that it WILL all be destroyed E. But there is more than just unjust business practices and oppression III. Key to understanding full impact is what he quotes A. Remember the Jewish attitude toward Gentiles? 1. They only allowed to come to outer court 2. What is going on in the outer court? (Market place) 3. Of course, they would like nothing better than purging of them B. Jesus quotes from 2 passages: 1. (Isa 56:3-8) - God was never to be closed of to the nations a. Through Abraham, all families of the earth to be blessed b. (Isa 49:3-6) - Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles c. Instead, they despised the Gentiles 2. Jesus also uses a phrase from Jeremiah 7:1-15 a. Just like Jeremiah, Jesus condemns the temple b. Problem was how they treated others c. So Jesus denounces them C. Then they saw the fruitless fig tree whithered from the roots 1. But figs were out of season 2. Shows that God not want just words as at triumphal entry 3. He doesn’t want your Sunday best, he wants everyday best - (Hos 6:6; Mt 9:13) - I delight in/ desire mercy, not sacrifice 4. Good fruit should ALWAYS be in Season D. This scene remeniscent of Isa 5:1-7 1. Israel would not produce good fruit 2. Therefore, God destroyed them. Temple destroyed by Babylon 3. History repeats itself in 70 A.D. as Jesus predicts Concl: 1. What is the point of all this? Worship is validated in how you treat others 2. Jesus didn’t try to reform or cleanse the temple a. Would not have worked. After he left, they continued their practices b. What needed to be cleansed was their hearts c. Only with a clean heart can you bear fruit 3. Being fruitful is not just about what you do here on Sunday 4. Being fruitful involves justice and mercy to your neighbor 5. Jesus says that the whole law and prophets rest on love (Mt 22:37) 6. Have you been fruitful in your life?