MY FATHER’S HOUSE
Dear Father, you inhabit all times and places. I want to be your faithful child today, in this time and at this place.
Read MATTHEW 21:12–22
Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’[a] but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’[b]”
14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,
“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise’[c]?”
17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.
Jesus Curses a Fig Tree
18 Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19 Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
20 When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
21 Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. 22 If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectIn what ways do your acts of worship and service reflect your faith?
One of the reasons adults enjoy the Toy Story films as much as children is their deliberate referencing of classic lines and scenes from iconic movies. Awareness of this opens up additional levels of appreciation of the films.
Similarly, to fully appreciate the significance of Jesus’ actions in these verses, readers need to be familiar with the Old Testament stories and prophecies referenced in them. Jesus’ clearing of an area in the temple courts (vs 12,13) enacts the prophecy of Zechariah 14:21, even as he quotes from Isaiah (56:7) and Jeremiah (7:11). His welcoming and healing of the blind and the lame to the temple (v 14) counters the policy of exclusion that had been in place since the time of David (2 Samuel 5:8). And the cursing of a fruitless fig tree (v 19) recalls various Old Testament references concerned with the inevitability of the judgment of fruitless Israel, as in Micah 7:1–6.
Jesus’ actions and words declare that ‘time is up’ for Israel, that judgment is imminent and will result in the temple itself being rendered redundant. Would God’s people set aside cherished traditions and embrace Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promises? A question as relevant for us now as it was for the people of Jerusalem back then.
What are your habits of spiritual formation? What changes this year might result in greater fruitfulness?
Gracious God, help me keep my focus on the real needs of real people. I desire above all else to seek and embrace your kingdom.
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