JESUS/YESHUA DIDN’T ONLY . . . . 07.05.19
Yeshua/Jesus didn’t just run around tip-toeing through the tulips, timidly avoiding confrontation, telling everyone how much He loved them. He went to the temple, the synagogue, teaching, healing, reading Scriptures. He spent endless time in prayer, hiding out on the Mount of Olives overnight, spending time with His Father. He was constantly teaching/training His disciples, in preparation for when He would no longer be there with them. You could hardly categorize His life as a carefree cake walk, his lifestyle as elegant, nor was He focussed on earthly happiness, or having fun. He challenged the Pharisees, chastised, became annoyed and impatient at points, with His disciples. He taught, preached, healed, and modelled how to walk, not only in loving-kindness and compassion, but also in authority, taking charge of whatever situation He was involved in. His life was totally surrendered to accomplishing His purpose for having come to earth.
In an attempt to demonstrate one or two of these points here, let us focus on one set of passages from Mark chapter 11. It was just before the Passover, and Yeshua/Jesus had just given His disciples instructions on how/where to make preparation for the Passover meal. He had entered Jerusalem on “a colt that no one had ever sat upon” (Mk.11:2). That in itself speaks volumes about His revelation of Who He was: (a) a colt, a young, innocent horse/donkey, that (b) no one had ever sat upon before, speaks to an undefiled, innocent creature, fit for a King to sit upon. This is Who He was – a King, be it under conditions of extreme humility and far from the peoples’ perception of an earthly King.
There was something regal about that entry. “He entered Jerusalem and went into the Temple. After looking around at everything, He went . . .” (Mk.11:11).
For our purposes here, where He went is not what is important; but the fact that He went into the Temple, had a good look around, and then first thing the next morning returned to “drive out those selling and buying in the Temple. . . overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those selling doves” (Mk.11:15), tells us that He had observed, that previous evening, that there would be buying/selling in the Temple on a Holy Day, and had made a very deliberate plan to put a stop to it. It was not by happenstance that this action occurred. It was not just a sudden whim, or fit of rage, but a planned intervention motivated by a righteous anger, with the purpose of teaching a lesson, and demonstrating a principle. He even “wouldn’t let anyone carry goods through the Temple,” (Mk.11:16), in a bid to underscore just how unacceptable this practice was, for this was breaking Torah law; and Yeshua was here to model the keeping of Torah, not to break it.
Yeshua/Jesus was someone who took charge; He didn’t shirk back passively from the challenges of those who questioned Who He was. After driving out the merchants and overturning their tables, “He began to teach them, saying, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” The ruling kohanim/priests and Torah scholars heard this and began looking for a way to destroy Him; for they were afraid of Him, because the whole crowd was astonished at His teaching” (Mk.11:17,18). And when the ruling priests and scholars began to accusingly confront Him, demanding, “By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority to do these things?” (Mk.11:28), Jesus/Yeshua, quite effortlessly, but purposefully proceeded to put them in their place by turning their own questions of Him, back upon themselves (v.29-32), and when they were unable to answer Him, they were left speechless, looking like fools. He knew how to turn the tables intellectually, as well as physically. What a model He left for us! Such reassuring confirmation too, that as believers, being humble before God does not necessitate passivity, timidity, or false humility, but rather appropriate boldness and authority. Yeshua/Jesus was very definitive, always took a position; He was not a fence-sitter, by any means.
Earlier in the scene, also, when the disciples were walking from Bethany, back to Jerusalem, Yeshua/Jesus did another demonstrative act: He literally cursed a fig tree! “The next day, when they had left Bethany, He became hungry. Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf, He went to see if He would find any fruit on it. When He came up to it, He found nothing except leaves, because it wasn’t the season for figs. And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again!””
(Mk.11:12-14). In the morning the following day, on their way back to Jerusalem, “As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree shriveled from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Yeshua, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree You cursed has shriveled up!” (Mk.11:20,21). It is evident from His response, that Yeshua/Jesus, was using this to demonstrate the kind of power the disciples would have, through their faith in Him, if they walked in the authority He was passing on to them, after He left the earth: “And Yeshua answered, saying to them, “Have faith in God! Amen, I tell you, if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but trusts that what he says is happening, so shall it be for him. For this reason I say to you, whatever you pray and ask, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk.11:22-24). He is teaching them to take charge, by faith, of whatever obstacles they would face in life, that by His Word, By His authority, and by praying in His Name (don’t forget, we never take any Scripture in isolation; He had taught them earlier, “whatever you ask the Father in My Name, He will give you,” John 16:23), they could command whatever things needed to be done, to be so, and it would be so. He had told them that “If you abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you. In this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples” (John 15:7,8).
Before implementing premature assumptions, and becoming jubilant about being able to ask for anything, please notice there are conditions – always conditions/expectations to blessings – (1) He said have faith, not doubt, trust, believe (Mk.11:22-24, above); (2) Then we combine with that which they had previously been taught – i.e. ABIDE IN HIM, and have HIS WORDS ABIDING IN them – only then does one attain the privilege of asking whatever they want and receiving it. And you can be sure, that after having abided in/His Words abiding in, that whatever they asked would be in line with the Father’s will, not just some whimsical, superficial fleshly desire. Why/how can we know this? Very simply, because the rest of the passage indicates the purpose: these things will be done in order to bring GLORY to the FATHER, NOT to the SELF; to BEAR FRUIT for the KINGDOM; and to PROVE one’s worth as a DISCIPLE; it is NOT for SELFISH GAIN or GLORY – the GLORY IS ALWAYS TO/FOR HIM; it is never about us, but about HIM who died and rose again (for us); (3) He throws in another condition, also: before expecting mountains to move, or any other type of answered prayer we must be in right standing before Him; and that includes forgiving anyone we have been offended by, rightly or wrongly, whether they have severely wronged us or not:
“Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your transgressions”(Mk.11:25). This requirement/principle is also prescribed by Paul, when in ministering the Holy Communion to his community of believers, he said: “For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself . . . . For this reason many are weak and sick among you .. . . if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged” (1 Cor.11:29-31, NKJV). So in other words, there are consequences for behaviour; and when one is expecting answered prayer, without being in right standing before God, one’s prayers will not likely be answered. Sin/lawlessness (as we learned in yesterday’s study) is a barrier/obstruction to hearing from God, which includes answered prayer. In God’s sovereignty, He will release blessings for faithfulness, and obedience; but He will do so at His timing, as He sees fit, and not in response to demands.
Yeshua/Jesus came to earth not only for the purpose of saving people from damnation, but to show people who would believe in Him, how to follow Him. He walked in the commandments of the Father, and He purposed to teach His followers how to do likewise, in order to gather a people unto Himself for all eternity. After all, didn’t He say: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2,3)? If the awesome and great Almighty God of the universe wants to spend eternity in an intimate relationship with human beings, how is it that it seems such a burdensome thing for humans to humble themselves to follow His Ways, to do whatever it is that pleases the Heavenly Father? Should it not be a privilege, and not a burden? Sacrificing this temporary time on earth to being His servant in exchange for a glorious inheritance should seem a trivial thing, not an overbearing hardship.
Yeshua/Jesus came to gather a people unto Himself, a people who would want to be as obedient children, trusting that an all-powerful, all-knowing God knows what is best, and has our best interests at heart. If He didn’t love us, He would not be bothered to go to all this trouble. Yes, of course, Yeshua/Jesus, did all of this out of His love for us; but He came not to hand out kisses and roses, but to show us the way to become part of His Kingdom.
It’s time to grow up; wake up, sleeping Church. Yes, it is about love, but teaching people that “it’s ALL about love” exclusive of anything else is nothing short of childish, tunnel-visioned, and is ludicrous. Discipline, training, and preparation are part of that love. Isn’t that what any good parent attempts before sending their children out into the world? It’s not about a Santa Clause type of God handing out kisses and candy canes; it’s about a God who cares enough to discipline, train, while nurturing, and having patience with human beings who are rebellious, disobedient, demanding, whiny, and undeserving, at best. So how about we get past the immature expectations, and get in line with HIS WAYS: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa.55:8,9). Jesus/Yeshua did not just come to the earth to tell us how much He loves us (certainly His sacrifice speaks to that on its own!), but to show the way into His Kingdom, that we may spend eternity with Him.
© 2017, 2018, 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.
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