Does Jesus Lose Credibility?
"Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple.
He will rearrange the tables in our holy places if we
treat what is His, as ours." -Bob Goff
Jesus seems to respond to two situations today in anger. Does this cause Him to lose His credibility?
As we follow The Last Days of Jesus this Passion Week we see two things are recorded of Jesus on this day that, at first, may seem out of character. He curses a fig tree for not having fruit and He clears the temple. We like to think of Jesus as the mild-mannered, loving, accepting and caring shepherd – and He is. But Jesus also made the declaration of Himself that He is the truth (John 14:6).
Truth can be very inconvenient and oftentimes brings to light things in our lives that we do not always appreciate and do not want to accept. This was the case at this point in Jesus’ life and ministry. It was time to call things like they are. Jesus came with a mission that needed to be accomplished. Sometimes in order to accept the truth, we need to acknowledge a need.
Jesus had already made the declaration to Nicodemus in John 3:16; For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. He followed that statement immediately with these words; For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.
Was Jesus now going against His word? No, I don’t think so. I believe He was just making the case for His very purpose in being here in the first place. We need a Savior! Left to our own sinful nature and ways, we will fail! We need a Savior that is willing and able to bear our sin and through Him find forgiveness and relationship with our Creator, God the Father.
I love the way Wiersbe puts this scenario when he writes; “Our Lord's condemning of the tree and cleansing of the temple were both symbolic acts that illustrated the sad spiritual condition of the nation of Israel. In spite of its many privileges and opportunities, Israel was outwardly fruitless (the tree) and inwardly corrupt (the temple).“
Makes perfect sense doesn’t it? I am corrupt and sinful on the inside and the outside – and so are you. As a matter of fact, so is the entire human race. In this matter, the Bible makes it perfectly clear; For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Now don’t misunderstand me, or take me to be judgmental, I am first in line here. I know some wonderful people, great people, caring people, giving people, compassionate and loving people. But the Bible says that at the very core of who we are, we are all sinners – we fall short of God’s standard. That doesn’t mean that people are not nice, good or try to behave in a moral, upright manner. It simply means that we can never be “good enough” on our own.
As a Father this became very evident to me. I never had to teach my children to do the wrong thing that seemed so natural. I never had to provide instruction on selfishness, evil, lying, deception, cheating (the list goes on) – those things come easy. I am not a sinner because I do the wrong things – I do the wrong things because I am a sinner on the inside.
This is the purpose for which Jesus came. We need a redeemer. God made a way to restore us back to a right relationship with Him. He was doing for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves – and that was to be good enough.
Since Jesus teaches on the fig tree tomorrow, we’ll look at that more then as well. So, let me make this observation about the temple. In John 2 we see a similar act as Jesus began His public ministry. Now, three years later, the temple was defiled again by the "religious business" of the leaders.
God has invited us into a personal relationship with Him through the love, grace, mercy and blood of Jesus Christ. As followers of Jesus, let us be very careful not to make it a business – to become a program – or to develop into a marketing strategy to add numbers to an organization.
You and I have been invited to participate in the greatest mission ever with the most incredible gift of good news ever offered to humankind. As we look at the life of Jesus this Passion Week, my prayer is that you and I would grow not just in knowledge, but in passion about the mission. That God would ignite in us a sense of urgency to share His love and life-changing power with those around us.
Pray for those around you in your circle of influence at home, work, school and play. As you do, also pray for God to provide clear opportunity to share with them the hope that you have found in Jesus. If you are not sure what to say or how to begin, check out “What’s Your Story? 7 Simple Steps To Begin To share”.
The great preacher and evangelist D.L. Moody once said; “Of 100 men, 1 will read the Bible; the other 99 will read men.” Let us live daily in close fellowship and relation with Jesus that our inward lives are being transformed by His grace so that outward lives become an invitation to those around us.