Part 10 Covers Mark 10:32 through the end of chapter 11 and contains discussions on the healing of Bartimaeus, the triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday, the Temple Cleansing, and the withered fig tree. Learn why the Lord cursed the fig tree and foretold the destruction of Jerusalem.
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Tonight’s study is in the Gospel According to Mark, and I believe we wound up in about verse 32 (does that make sense?) and so we’ll pick up there at Mark 10:32:
They were on their way up to Jerusalem, with Jesus leading the way, and the disciples were astonished, while those who followed were afraid. Again he took the Twelve aside and told them what was going to happen to him. “We are going up to Jerusalem,” he said, “and the Son of Man will be betrayed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.”
Now, this is why many of the people were afraid, because they knew that when they went to Jerusalem there would be trouble. They knew that as long as they stayed up in the Galilee, up in the northern end of the country, they’d be fine. But they have been making their way steadily down the Jordan River valley toward Jerusalem, and they knew that that was their ultimate destination, and they knew that there would be trouble.
And now He’s telling them once again exactly what is going to happen when they get there.
In verse 35 it says:
Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to him. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.”
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.”
“You don’t know what you are asking,” Jesus said. “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”
This was kind of a colloquialism: Can you drink the cup I drink? It means, can you share my fate? Can you do what I will be asked to do?
“We can,” they answered.
Whenever I read that passage, I’m always reminded of the sign that I used to have in my office when I was in business and it said: “Confidence is that feeling you have before you know what’s really going on.” [laughing] And that’s certainly true here, because they answer, without hesitation, without doubt, “Sure, we can do that.”
Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink and be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.”
When the ten heard about this,
The other ten disciples.
They became indignant with James and John. Jesus called them together.
And before we go on and get the Lord’s teaching here, I want you to turn back with me to Matthew 19:28, and I want you to see what they already knew.
You remember last time, we talked about the difficulty for rich people getting into Heaven. In Matthew’s version of this, Peter, speaking for the disciples said, “We’ve left everything to follow You, what will there be for us?” He wants to know, “We’ve done all this and we’ve abandoned everything, now what are we going to get?”
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And so, the disciples, including James and John, they’ve already been promised that at the renewal—or some translations say the “restoration of all things”—that’s talking about the kingdom age, the Millennium, when everything is put back to the way it was at the beginning.
At that time Jesus said, “The twelve of you are going to sit on twelve thrones. And you will judge the twelve tribes of Israel.”
So He is putting them into a position of leadership, of authority, over the nation of Israel. And so they already knew this, but James and John wanted to see if they can get something a little better; they want their thrones on either side of Jesus [laughing] and so, they want to be the two closest to Him—which of course, in every situation, the one who sits closest to the leader is felt to be the most important, right? The one who is at the other end of the table, the least important, and that’s still the case today.
Now this, by the way, is in contrast to our teaching from the last time in Mark 9 where we learned that one of the best qualities for a Christian to express in his or her life is humility. And so here’s a case where they need to go back and study chapter 9 again because they obviously didn’t get it. It shows you how much more—and by the way, all through the Gospels, this is the case—it shows you how much, whenever we think the disciples are really being dense, it shows you how much difference the Holy Spirit makes.
Because they hadn’t received the Holy Spirit yet. They’re not going to receive the Holy Spirit until the night of the Lord’s resurrection, on that Sunday morning He comes out of the tomb. That night He met with them in the upper room and that is when they received the Holy Spirit.
All through the ministry they hadn’t experienced what you and I take for granted. And that’s why they’re always saying things that aren’t appropriate, or they’re always failing to understand, or they just don’t seem to get it, even after they’ve been with Him for all that time.
It just shows you the difference that having the Holy Spirit makes. You see, before we received the Holy Spirit, we were just like they are! We probably can’t remember ever being that out of it, but we were just like they were before we received the Holy Spirit; we didn’t have that understanding either.
And that, by the way, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians, is why you don’t ever want to waste your time arguing Scriptural things with a nonbeliever. Let’s turn to 1 Corinthians and I’ll show you where it is, I think it’s in chapter 2.
1 Corinthians 2:14 says:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they Spiritually discerned.
And so, if you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you cannot exercise any spiritual discernment.
This is why it just doesn’t make any sense to argue religion with a nonbeliever. In the first place, you can’t argue somebody into the kingdom, right? All you do is polarize at the opposite extremes of any issue, and the other person goes away even more convinced that they are right because the argument has pushed you further apart than maybe you even were in the beginning.
And so, you don’t argue somebody into the kingdom, you don’t sell somebody into the kingdom, you don’t coerce somebody into the kingdom, you don’t persuade somebody into the kingdom. What you do is you share the Gospel, and then you pray, and the Holy Spirit does the rest, and that’s the only way it ever works. And so, the idea here that you can somehow persuade somebody just doesn’t make any sense.
Personally I don’t advocate debating the Scriptures for that reason, I don’t advocate the so-called “hard sell Evangelism.” I’m not a fan—I hope I’m not stepping on too many feet here—I’m not a fan of the programs that people put out to train people to go out and share the Gospel with everybody. Those things never sat well with me because our job is first of all, to live the Gospel.
We live, we don’t preach the Gospel. We don’t sell the Gospel; we live the Gospel. And when you live the Gospel, everything takes care of itself. I know that none of you would ever do this, but I’ve had people write to me, arguing about, “What do you mean? We’re supposed to just sit there and wait for the Holy Spirit to do something? Not me, I’m going out! And I’m working on these people myself!”
Well, okay. [laughs] And people write to me saying, “I’m in an argument with these atheists and they keep telling me this and this and this and this. And I say,“Of course they are, they’re not believers!”
And if they’re not believers in what we believe, they’re going to have something else that they believe in, and they’re going to be convinced of their beliefs, that’s why they’re in this debate with you!
But you can’t try to argue them out of their position; you can’t try to persuade them that they’re wrong. I mean, if a guy wants to believe that Earth is flat, he’s going to believe the Earth is flat. You can’t argue him out of that, because he’s made up his mind about it. It’s not like he hasn’t thought about it; he’s thought about it. He’s thought about it and he’s come to a conclusion. It’s the wrong conclusion, but it’s his conclusion, and he’s going to hold on it until he decides that there’s maybe something more to things then he’s looked at.
And that’s why all we do is we share the Gospel, and then we pray. And we let the Holy Spirit convince the person. And if the person sees a good example of how Christians live, sees something attractive in the way that we live, sees something they would like to have for their lives, then they’re drawn to it. But that’s the only way anybody comes to the Lord.
If you’re a believer—and I assume if you’re in this room then you are—if you’re a believer, somebody prayed for you beforehand and made you that way. Nobody beat you over the head and argued you into it, nobody persuaded you of the error of your ways. Somebody prayed for you, and the Holy Spirit opened your heart to understanding. And then all the things you heard started to make sense. Even if you had rejected them 50 or 100 times before, suddenly they all started to make sense to you. That’s the way it happens.
All right so the ten were indignant. This is verse 41, back to verse 42:
Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
And so here Jesus turned the whole hierarchy upside down, didn’t He? He said, “Don’t aspire to have all this power, and authority, over others, that’s not how you get to be great. The way you get to be great is through your service.”
It’s your humility again. It’s how you present the Gospel. It’s how you express the Lord’s love. These are the things that make you great. And this was proven in His life at least, because we look at Philippians 2:5, Paul says:
In your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped;
but, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
So what is he saying? Here’s somebody who was God, who is God, but He wasn’t going around saying that, was He? He wasn’t going around saying, “I’m God and you’re not!” He wasn’t doing any of that.
No, even though He could have, and even though it would have been true had He done so, no, He didn’t do that. Instead He became the opposite. He went to the other end of the spectrum and became a servant.
He went from being God the Creator, to being the most humble of the creation. And that’s how He brought Himself to Earth. Not as a king, He could have come as a king, you know. He could have come in royalty, He could have come floating down out of the sky and say, “Okay here I am I’m your king. Bow down, because I’m here. And whatever you were thinking before I got here? Forget it that’s over. Now it’s My way or the highway.”
No, He didn’t say any of that. He came as a servant, not to be served, but to serve. And He, it says in verse 8:
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
The worst form of execution ever devised. And verse 9:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
That’s the sequence, and that’s what He is saying, “If you want to be great, become a servant.”
And so that put an end, I would assume, to the discussion among the disciples as to who is the greatest, and who gets to sit where, and they I think were properly chastised because you don’t hear anything about that from them after that.
All right now down to verse 46:
Then they came to Jericho.
Jericho is a city on what’s called the West Bank today. It’s down on the Jordan River, down in the Jordan River Valley. It’s way below sea level, down near the same level as the Dead Sea, about 13,000 below sea level. Jerusalem is about 37,000 above sea level, so you got a 5,000 foot difference in altitude between the Dead Sea and Jerusalem.
And so Jericho, even though it was only 15 miles away from Jerusalem, was a resort community. It was one of the oldest cities in the world. The original Jericho had disappeared long since, and a new Jericho had been built by King Herod, just south of the original one.
It became a popular place for the priests to live, because, you know, priests served a period of time on duty and then they went home. They had a rotating service in the temple, and every group (there were 24 groups of priests). They were all put into divisions, and each division served for two weeks out of the year in the temple. And then they went off and did their own duties, did their own things.
But many of them had homes in Jericho, because it was warm and it was dry, and it was very pleasant there. And it was close, it was only, like I said, a day’s walk from Jerusalem.
So Jesus has been coming down the Jordan River, and now He’s come down to Jericho, and now He’s going to turn and go up the last 15 miles to Jerusalem.
So verse 46:
Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”
So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
Now, this is the same question Jesus had asked James and John, right?
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.
The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
“Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.
Now, this is one of the many instances in the Bible where a man asks for healing, gets it, and Jesus doesn’t say, “There I’ve healed you, I give you what you want.” He says, “Your faith has healed you.”
You remember, we’ve talked about this before, how in Capernaum and Corazon way up north, it said Jesus couldn’t do very many miracles in those places because the people didn’t believe in Him. And so that’s when we talked about the connection between the Lord’s ability and our faith, and how it takes both to make something work.
The Lord has the ability to do anything, and we’re going to see Him say that here in a few minutes. But for some reason, our faith has to come into play there; we have to believe He has that power in order for it to work personally for us. And since we’re going to talk more about that, we’ll just leave it at that point.
Okay now this would have been a Friday, and where as a day of the week, it would have been on a Friday. And they would have arrived that night about sundown at a place between Jericho and Jerusalem. Two cities very close, two small cities very close together called Bethphage and Bethany; they were often mentioned that way, Bethphage and Bethany, close together.
And there they would have spent the Sabbath, because it was against the law to travel on the Sabbath. And so, that would have meant that on Saturday they rested there. And we’re going to find out where they rested as we go along here. I think Mark’s version tells, but if it doesn’t I’ll tell you, because I know where it was.
So now we’re going to skip the Sabbath, and we’re going to start verse 1 of chapter 11. It is now Sunday, remember the Sabbath is on Saturday. It is Sunday the tenth day of the first month, which is Nisan.
And according to studies done by Sir Robert Anderson and the London Royal Observatory, by plotting the position of the moon in the sky, they can determine all these dates, because they can always tell you where the moon was.
Now, with computers we can tell you where the moon will be, but they could always plot the position of the moon in the sky on any day, as they can with all the other stars. Astronomers can do this, and the London Royal Observatory is one of the premiere facilities devoted to the study of the stars, astronomy. Don’t confuse that with astrology, by the way, which is a whole different thing. This is astronomy, the science, astronomy.
And about 150 years ago I think, Sir Robert Anderson, who was the head of the investigative division of Scotland Yard (so he was a detective), he was the head of the detective division of Scotland Yard. He joined together with the London Royal Observatory and did this work. And you can read all about it in a book called “The Coming Prince” if you want to by Sir Robert Anderson. But he became Sir Robert Anderson because of this discovery. He was just Robert Anderson before that; he was knighted for these discoveries.
He determined that the day we’re going to read about here, in 11:1, on our calendar would be April 6th of 32 AD. On the Hebrew calendar, it was the 10th day of the first month, 10th of Nisan.
Hebrew calendars are lunar calendars, and our calendars are solar calendars, and that’s why they’re off. Nisan usually starts about the middle of March and goes to the middle of April; but that’s all beside the point. What’s important for our study tonight is that according to Sir Robert Anderson’s discoveries with the London Royal Observatory, the day we’re going to read about here was April 6th of 32 AD.
It was a Sunday, it was the 10th of the first month, and that’s why I’m putting so much emphasis on this, it’s going to be very interesting in just a moment.
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.’”
Now, how would you like that story if that was your colt? [laughing] Okay. Keep in mind here, because as you’re beginning to see, these things didn’t happen by accident on this particular day; these things happened on purpose.
They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway.
Matthew’s version said it was a mother and her offspring, so it was both the mare and the colt.
As they untied it, some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.
Okay! [laughing] It was a good story and it worked.
When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it.
Now, understand earlier He said—and this was never ridden before—if you ever try to sit on a horse that’s never been ridden, it can’t be done. So this is not just good horsemanship here, there is some really unusual business going on.
Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted,
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”
“Hosanna in the highest!”
This is a quote from Psalm 1:18:25 and 26. This Psalm was set aside specifically to announce the arrival of the Messiah into the holy city. This was the purpose of the Psalm, it was for the purpose of announcing the arrival of the Messiah into the holy city.
We can get a little more detail on this by flipping over to Luke’s version, Luke 19. And, by the way, I’ve walked this path, I don’t know if anybody has done this, I’ve walked the path they took starting at the Mount of Olives and walking down the Mount of Olives to the gate of the temple. It’s a beautiful, beautiful view of the city, and you come down a fairly steep hill right by the Garden of Gethsemane, and you come down and you wind up at the Golden Gate, the gate that the king enters at the temple.
But let’s go to Luke 19, and we’ll go down to verse 39, we’ll start there because at that point Luke inserts something that Mark’s Gospel doesn’t include because you remember Mark is the Snapshot Gospel, he’s just giving you the highlights. Luke’s going to give you more detail here now.
And at 39 we read:
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd
This is Luke 19:39.
Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
Because the Pharisees knew what that Psalm was for and they knew why the people were singing it. They were singing it because they thought that Jesus was the Messiah and the Pharisees went to Jesus saying, “Rebuke your disciples!” And what they thought is, You’re not the Messiah so don’t let them sing that! Stop them!
Verse 41—or I’m sorry, verse 40:
“I tell you,” Jesus replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”
And so, what He’s saying is there’s no way to stop this. This is foreordained, this is something that has been designed to happen on this day. And there’s no power on Earth that can stop it.
As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace—but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
In His opinion, they should have known what was going to happen on that day. They should have been prepared for it, they should have anticipated it. And even though you haven’t read anything about that in any part of the Gospel up until now, He held them accountable for it.
And if they are accountable for it, it must have been written down somewhere, and that means it had to be in the Old Testament someplace, because the New Testament wasn’t written yet.
And so somewhere in the Old Testament, there’s a passage that announces the day on which the Messiah will come to Israel, in such detail and with such clarity, that He could hold them accountable for knowing it.
And of course, it’s there. It’s in the Book of Daniel, and it’s in chapter 9 where there’s a 4 verse prophecy that we’ll just take a quick look at because Daniel 9 is one of the most important chapters in the entire Bible, where prophecy is concerned, at least. And if we were in a study of Daniel, we could take the rest of the night, and review these 4 verses. But we’re not, we’re in a study in Mark, and so I have to give you the sort of quick approach to this, and then I’ll have to tell you where you can go to find a better study on the Book of Daniel! [laughs] And you get into more of the details.
But here’s the broad brush.
This is about 586 or so (right around in there, it could be a year or two either way) BC. Daniel has been in Babylon for 70 years. He was taken there as a teenager, the first 5 chapters of the Book of Daniel tell you all this, he was taken there as a teenager, he was educated in Babylonian system. He did so well that he came to the attention of the king.
The king made him an adviser, even though he was a teenager, the king made him an adviser to the throne. The king himself was Nebuchadnezzar; he was only 20, and so having a 16 year old adviser didn’t seem to be out of reason for him.
And so, he was young and he inherited all these old geezers from his dad and he didn’t trust any of them, and so he brought in some new guys. And among the new guys were four Jewish captives, Daniel and his three friends who we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—but those are their Babylonian names. Daniel became a close friend of Nebuchadnezzar’s, and he actually became second in command, he became the Prime Minister basically of Babylon.
And then he went into retirement, and then when Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson was the king—actually he was the prince, he was the second in command; his father was king—Daniel was called back out of retirement to read the handwriting on the wall, you remember that? That’s in Daniel 6.
And then that night, the Coalition the Medes and the Persians conquered Babylon, and the next day Babylon was a Persian city. And when King Cyrus, the Persian, rode into town to take charge of that which his forces had conquered, Daniel came out and greeted him. Daniel was now an old man, he was 85 years old.
And he came out and greeted him, and he read to him Isaiah 45 in which Isaiah, 150 years before the fact, had explained Cyrus’s battle plan for conquering the city of Babylon. This so impressed Cyrus that he freed the Jews, and they all went back and started up after the Babylonian captivity.
Okay, so that’s the story in a nutshell. Just prior to that happening, Daniel knew that the period of captivity was about up, because he had read the Book of Jeremiah in which it said it would last for 70 years. He knew the 70 years were about up, he went into prayer to remind God of His promise to bring them back at the end of the 70 years, and the Angel Gabriel came to see Daniel and gave him this prophecy.
It starts in verse 24, it says:
“Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the Most Holy Place.
And if your Bible doesn’t have the word “Place” there it should, because the “Most Holy Place” refers to the temple. But for tonight the most important thing for us is the seventy ‘sevens’ because the Hebrew word that is translated seven there, is a word that means, in the popular terminology, a week of years. So it means seven years.
So, seventy times seven equals 490. So, when he says seventy ‘sevens’ he’s saying a period of 490 years has been set apart. For whom? For your people Daniel. Who are they? The Jews. And for your holy city, Daniel. What city is that? Jerusalem, to do the six things I just read to you.
And then in verse 25 he says:
“Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One,
In Hebrew that’s “Messiah.”
From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Messiah, the ruler, comes, there will be seven of these ‘sevens,’ plus sixty-two more of these ‘sevens.’
And so this period will be split into two. First there will be a period of seven ‘sevens’ 49 years. And then there will be right after that a period of 62 ‘sevens,’ 434 more years, for a total of 483 years.
So, 483 years after the decree comes to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, the Messiah will come. And that’s how Jesus could hold them accountable for knowing when He was going to come. You with me? Now we’re not going to tell you anything about the rest of this prophecy, although it talks about the Messiah being on the scene, it talks about Him being crucified, it talks about the Romans destroying the city after that, and it talks about a dispersion of the Jews all over the country, all over the world, and then it talks about sometime in the future somebody from the very same people who destroyed the city (which were the Romans), a new leader would arise from them and would help them rebuild everything. And then right in the middle would become the Antichrist.
And so that’s what these four verses talk about, and if that doesn’t get your interest then you’re not paying attention.
But tonight, all we’re interested in is this part, seventy ‘sevens’ plus 62, 483 years. So if you just knew the date of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, you could count off 483 years and you would know when the Messiah was going to come. You with me? All right.
Well, it turns out that that day was recorded in the Bible! It’s in the second chapter of Nehemiah, and it’s Nehemiah 2:1 and in there it talks about it being, I think the 20th year of the Persian king Artaxerxes Longimanus.
The 20th year of his reign turns out to be 445 BC. And so, if you went from—and, by the way, the decree was issued on March 14th—and so if you went (and Robert Anderson is credited for this discovery as well) and so if you went from the day of that decree, March 14, 445 BC, when Nehemiah was given permission to go and rebuild the walls around Jerusalem, if you went through that and counted 483 years (and this is the critical part of Sir Robert’s discovery) the Lord created the Earth with a calendar of twelve 30-day months, for 360 days. And that was the world’s calendar from the creation, to about 701 BC, when something happened and threw the Earth off of its orbit around the sun and its orbit became five-and-a-quarter-days longer.
You see, the Lord didn’t create things out of sync, you know. He wouldn’t create an orbit around the sun of 365-and-a-quarter-days that would require you to have a leap year every fourth year, except when the year ended in 0, and then you’d skip it. So you wouldn’t have this with the Lord. He created an orbit around the sun of 360 days, and then He had twelve months of 30 days each, and everything worked out fine.
It wasn’t until 701 BC that the orbits changed, and it turns out that the reason for the orbit changing is, Mars and Earth, who have orbits that are—Mars’s orbit doubles Earth’s, or was—and every so often, they came too close together. And when they did, it bounced them both around, and in 701 BC they finally had bounced them around far enough so that it threw the Earth off its orbit. And there are theological reasons for that that we’re not going to get into tonight.
But Sir Robert Anderson determined that when the Lord counts days in the Bible, He’s on His original calendar, because He’s going to put it back to that, you see. And so, there is no more 365 days in the Lord’s mind. And so for Him, March 14th of 445 BC, the span of time between March 14 of 445 BC and April 6th of 32 AD is exactly 483 years.
And it’s 483 years to the day. And that’s why in Luke 19:41 Jesus said, “Because you did not understand the day of My coming.” He said, “You should have read Daniel 9, you should have done the math, you should have known that today is the anniversary, the 483rd anniversary of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem, and that is the day that Daniel told you I was going to show up here as the Messiah.”
And He says, “Because you did not understand this, now it’s hidden from your eyes. The deal’s off. And your enemies are going to come and surround the city and they’re going to build an embankment all around it and trap you inside. And then they are going to systematically destroy you until there’s not one stone left standing on another. And all this will be because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”
Thirty-eight years later—or thirty-six, depending on who’s calculations you like—the Roman army surrounded Jerusalem, built a siege wall around it, and they destroyed it.
And in the process of destroying it, they set the city on fire, and they set the temple on fire. The temple was made of stone with a wooden roof, each plank in the roof was wrapped in a sheet of gold. Finely, thin, hammered gold. It wasn’t painted gold, it was wrapped in a sheet, a thin, paper thin sheet of gold, each plank in the roof. So as you looked up at the roof you saw solid gold. The tapestries and furniture in the temple caught fire, heat rises, the heat of the fire melted the gold, it ran down the beams and down the sides of the walls and into the cracks between the stones.
The Roman soldiers only got paid what they could steal from the people they captured. When the fire went out, they went in and they tore the temple down, stone by stone to get the gold that ran between them. And when they were done, there was not a stone left standing on another. In fact, it was many, many years before they ever realized there was even a trace of a temple there.
This is what is happening because of the day that we’re reading about here in Mark. And this is what the Lord said as He rode into the city, that I read to you in Luke 19:42, He said:
If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace
Had they realized who it was that was riding in on the donkey, they would have realized He was fulfilling the prophecy, they would have suddenly begun to understand all the other 300 prophecies that He fulfilled. They would have realized that He was the Messiah they’d been waiting for, they would have accepted Him as their king, they would have accepted God’s offer of a kingdom, and we would have gone straight from 32 AD into the Millennium.
There would be no church age; had they realized it, that’s what would have happened. The last 2,000 years, of all the trouble and turmoil that’s come upon the Earth, and especially upon the Jewish people, wouldn’t have happened. It was a bonafide offer of the kingdom that He had promised to make to them, and they refused it.
Now the people, they knew. They were the ones who laid down their cloaks in the road, they’re the ones who cut the palm branches, they’re the ones who sang the Psalm 118. It was the leadership who destroyed everything.
Now of course, God knew all this was going to happen in advance; He knew that they were going to do this, and He knew that it was going to result in the Messiah’s death, and that that would be the payment for the sins of the people. He knew all this was going to happen, but they had rejected the bonafide offer. The fact that He knew it in advance was irrelevant to their situation.
And so, back to Mark 11:1, The Messiah came into the city on the only day in His entire life that He actually encouraged people to call Him the King of Israel. All the time before that He discouraged it, saying things like, “My time has not yet come. Don’t tell anybody.” When He healed somebody and they recognized that this means He had to be the Messiah, He said to them, “Don’t tell anybody.”
Because you see, this was all ordained to happen on a particular day, and what we know today as Psalm Sunday was the day. You got that? Now that’s a critical thing for you, because that’s one of the most remarkable examples of the specific nature in which prophecy in the Bible is fulfilled.
When the Lord says He’s going to do something on a certain day He’s going to do it on that day. It’s not maybe, it’s not, it doesn’t vary by a year or two or ten. It isn’t going to happen on any day, it happens on that day. And that’s excellent advice for us in interrupting prophecies.
And as they say, this discovery resulted in knighthood for Sir Robert Anderson. And I would encourage you to get his book, “The Coming Prince” it’s called, because it’s a commentary on Daniel 9:24-27 and it’s one of the best. “The Coming Prince,” Sir Robert Anderson. You can still buy it 150 years later. It’s a little paperback, only 100 pages or so.
Now, if you don’t want to do that, you can go on our website and you can look up the 70th Week of Daniel, just go into the search box on the upper right hand corner of the homepage and just type in there, the 70th Week of Daniel, and hit Go and you’ll get half a dozen articles and they’ll all speak about this four verse prophecy, the most important verses of prophecy in the entire Bible.
Every mistake that scholars make about whether or not we’re in the last days, about when the likelihood the Lord will come, about what’s been going on with Israel and what’s going to happen in Israel, every mistake that scholars make in those areas can usually be traced back to a misunderstanding of these four verses.
And so, if you master these four verses, Daniel 9:24-27, if you master these four verses you will have a huge foundation, a solid foundation from which to interpret other End Times prophecies especially—and especially as they relate to Israel.
All right. Now verse 11 of Mark says:
Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.
All four Gospels talk about what happened next. Luke and Matthew say that it happened as soon as He got to the temple on this Sunday, the first day of the week. Mark says He just looked around and went home, and in a few verses he’s going to say He came back the next day and did this.
John puts the whole thing all out of sequence and puts it all way up at the beginning of his Gospel because he’s trying to prove a different point. But what happens next is the cleansing of the temple.
Matthew’s version, Luke’s version all put it on the afternoon of this donkey ride. But as we’re going to see here Mark, who’s writing on Peter’s behalf, makes it the next day, and I’ll show you why.
You understand that none of the Gospel accounts are intended to be historically accurate. Every Gospel account is written for a purpose to a specific audience, and they sometimes move events around to make their points, because none of them intended to write history.
The way you get the history of the event is you read all four accounts, and you’ll have details out of each one that will show you everything that happened. But quite often, the accounts will vary just a little bit to help the writer make the particular point he’s trying to make to his audience.
Now, we started off the study of Mark by saying these are the four Gospels that are written to a different audience, correct? Matthew writing to the Jews, Mark writing to the Romans, Luke writing to the Greeks, John writing to the Church. Every one of them had a different audience.
And they put things in, or left things out, and moved things around slightly to help them make the point they were trying to make to that particular audience.
Matthew was trying to make the point that Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Jude, the Messiah of Israel. Mark is trying to make the point that Jesus is the obedient servant of God. Luke is trying to make the point that Jesus is the Son of man. And John is trying to make the point that Jesus is the son of God.
Jesus was all four of those things; that’s why you need all four Gospels. People have said, “Why couldn’t they just have gotten together and written one? One joint authorship, and just have one. And then we wouldn’t have all this.”
Well, that’s not the way it was designed to be for the reasons I just gave you. Each one was writing to a specific audience, each one was trying to make his point in a way that would be meaningful to that particular audience. There’s a very good reason why Peter had Mark put the cleansing of the temple on Monday instead of Sunday, and we’ll go there now, because I think we still have time. Yes we do.
Verse 12 it says:
The next day.
Which would make it Monday.
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
So they’re leaving Bethpage, which means House of Figs, by the way, He comes across a fig tree in leaf. The fig tree is the last tree to get leaves in the summer, this is why Jesus said in Matthew 24: “When you look at the fig trees and see it beginning to blossom and bud, you know that summer is near.” And then He goes on to say, “Just so you know when you see these things I’ve told you about you know the end is near.”
And so He compares the idea that the fact that the fig tree gets its leaves right at the beginning of summer, to the fact that we were going to see these End Times signs right at the very end. But here it is, and this tree has leaves on it. It appears to be living, but it bears no fruit. Remember that—the tree appears to be living, but it bears no fruit.
Now back to Mark 11:15:
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?
This is Isaiah 56:7. He says:
But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
Quoting Jeremiah 7:11.
The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.
Now, if you read all the different accounts of the cleansing of the temple (I’m assuming most of you are familiar with this event) you’ll find out that single handedly, He went in to a large and very crowded market area, and tore it all up, and threw everybody out and nobody laid a hand on Him.
He scattered money everywhere; He let all the doves and all the sacrificial animals loose. Now, the place where this was happening, by the way, was in the largest area of the temple called the Court of the Gentiles, and it was the only place in the temple precinct where non-Jews were allowed to come and worship God.
In preparation for one of the holiest days of the year, Passover, they commandeered this place of worship for the Gentiles, and turned it into an open air market for selling the sacrificial animals that the pilgrims needed, for doing the money changing that they needed, because they had to pay their temple tax,when they came, and they could only pay their tax in temple coinage.
And so, from all over the Middle East they came with their local coinage and they had to exchange there for temple coinage because that’s the only money the priests would accept. And so the money changers made a little profit on the exchange as you’d expect, some of them made more profit than they should have, because it was easier to buy a lamb from the priests in the temple than it was to carry a lamb from, let’s say, North Africa. Many pilgrims brought money and purchased sacrificial animals there, and of course, the animals were ever so much more expensive there because there was a captive market. They had to buy them, there’s only one place selling them. I mean, if you’ve got something that the people have to have, and you are the only one that’s got it, are you going to price it accordingly? And of course they were.
And so they did, and so Jesus had these two complaints against them. First He said, “You take the only area where the Gentiles can worship, you turn it into a market. But the Bible says, Isaiah says, ‘My house is to be a house of prayer for all nations,’ and yet you’ve taken the only area where a non-Jew can come and worship Me, and you’ve turned it into a market.”
And then He said, “Beside that, you’ve turned it into a den of robbers because you’re cheating the people on the exchange rates, you’re cheating them on the way you charge for the sacrificial animals. They have to have the animals, you’re the only one selling them, and you’re taking advantage of them.”
And so, on the base of those two things, He tore the whole market apart, single-handedly, nobody touched Him. Of course, He is the creator of the universe. He can do this, but they thought He was just a guy! And so the priest said, “This guy’s wrecking our economy here, let’s get rid of him.”
And that’s the cleansing of the temple, and that’s why it took place; that was the motivation behind it. Now we’ll tie this together, because Mark says in 11:19 that at the end of the day they just walked out, having made shambles of the whole place. [laughs] They just turned around and went home, and were not molested by anyone.
Now, the next verse is 20, and this would be the following morning, would be Tuesday now.
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
This is the only so-called “negative miracle” that Jesus ever performed. Every other miracle that you read about, He’s taking something bad and making it good; He takes a handicapped arm, makes it well. He takes a blind eye, makes it see. He takes a deaf mute, and makes him hear and speak. He takes somebody who’s sick, He makes them well.
In every other miracle, He’s taking somebody who’s got something wrong and He’s correcting it. This is the only miracle where He takes something that appeared to be healthy and now He’s cursed it so it’s dying.
Now my thought here is, and I’m not the only one who thinks this way, is that Peter instructed Mark to put this cleansing of the temple between the two incidents with the fig tree. The first, when it appears to be alive but it is bearing no fruit and the second, where it’s withered. And by the way, how is it withered? From the roots up; that’s backwards! When a tree gets sick the first thing it does is the leaves fall off, and then the branches get hard, and the last, the very last thing that happens, is the roots die.
But this tree is dead at the root, even though it still appears live at the top. This fig tree, this is one of those cases where the fig tree is a model of not Israel, but of the Jewish religion, if you will. It’s a model of the way they had turned their relationship with God into a religion. And as they turned it into a religion, it became corrupt.
Turn with me to Isaiah 29 I think, and we’ll have to hurry and do this—which means we have to find Isaiah, okay, here it is. Isaiah 29:13. This is 750 years earlier, by the way.
The Lord says:
Now, usually He calls them My people right? But here He says:
“These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.
And this is what happened when the relationship became a religion. Now, their hearts are cold, and they’re just following a set of rules. They’re not the only ones who do that, they were just the first. You’ll find that again today, won’t you? You can go places where people’s hearts are cold and they’re just following the rules and they think they’re doing the right thing.
This was symbolized by the fig tree. It appeared to be alive, but it was bearing no fruit. You see the symbolism there? That’s the religion; it appeared to be alive but it was bearing no fruit.
There are so many places in Christianity today where we could make the same accusation. They appear to be alive, but they’re bearing no fruit. Maybe even much of the Church could be described that way today; they appear to be alive but they are bearing no fruit. The relationship has become a religion.
In the seven letters to seven churches, Jesus said to the church in Sardis, “Though you appear to be alive, you are dead.”
To the church in Laodicea He said, “You know, you’re neither hot nor cold. I wish you were one or the other, but you’re just lukewarm and so I’m going to spit you out of My mouth.”
Because you know, if you drink a beverage that’s supposed to be hot, and it’s only lukewarm—bleh! If you drink a beverage that’s supposed to be cold, but it’s lukewarm—bleh! It’s not good on either side! If it was supposed to be hot and it was hot, that’d be great, if it’s supposed to be cold and it was cold, that’d be great. But lukewarm you can’t do anything with! It looked like it was going to be good when you saw it, but when you tasted it, bleh! And friends, that’s religion for you. [laughing]
This is what so amazes me about the Church; Jesus didn’t come to start another religion, my goodness, He had the most anal religion ever devised! Rules after rules after rules after rules; cold, cold hearts. Why would He want another one of those? He came for a relationship, He wanted that back. He had it once; He wanted it back. The last thing He wanted was another religion, but that’s what much of the Church has become today, another religion.
And so, this fig tree is a model of the state in which He had found the Jewish religion. It appeared to be alive, but it was bearing no fruit. And therefore, the only thing He could do with it, is curse it. And it had to be cursed from the roots because that’s where the trouble was, right? The trouble was not down here in the leaves—they were green and nice; the trouble was at the root, the place was dead at the root.
And I believe that Peter had Mark put the cleansing of the temple between the two accounts of the fig tree to prove a point, because the two things that the temple was supposed to be was a place that would be a house of prayer for all nations, and yet they had excluded the Gentiles, and it should have been a place where God’s laws were preeminent and where the Commandment thou shalt not steal should have been observed, and they were ripping off the pilgrims, taking advantage of people who had to have what they were selling.
And so, that’s why I believe He did this and I believe John put the cleansing of the temple up in chapter 2 for the same reason, to contrast the wedding at Cana, where He turned the water into wine and all the symbolism that goes along with the wedding and all the things we know in the Church today about how our relationship with the Lord is symbolized in the wedding ceremony, and how you can take almost every part of the Gospel and you can fit it somewhere into the wedding ceremony, and there’s where John started, and then the very next thing he does is show the cleansing of the temple, showing the best and the worst side-by-side.
I think Peter had Mark do the same thing here with cleansing of the temple, and that’s a very long explanation as to why he put it on Monday instead of Sunday. All the rest of it you already knew about.
Now, instead of saying to the disciples when they saw the fig tree withered the next morning, “Well, this is a model of the relationship and the religion and the temple and the Church,” Instead of saying what I’ve just said to you, here’s what He said to them instead, He said:
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
Now, if He wasn’t kidding there, you and I should be able to walk outside, look at the mountain over there, and say, “Get over to the ocean.” And it should move, as long as we had faith and didn’t doubt. Now, anybody want to try that tonight?
And of course, we’ve had this discussion before too, haven’t we? The weak state of faith in the Church today. We complain about we pray and people don’t get healed, and why doesn’t God heal people anymore, instead of saying, “What’s the matter with our faith?” The Bible says that if we pray people should be healed. The Bible’s true, the Lord hasn’t changed His mind; something must be wrong with us. But we don’t say that, do we? We make excuses for the Lord instead of accepting responsibility for ourselves.
He says in verse 24:
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.
There’s no weasel clause in that.
Believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand praying,
Okay here comes one.
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against someone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Proverbs 28:9 says that when a man disregards the law his prayers become detestable to God. Interesting, huh? When a man disregards the law, his prayers become detestable to God. Now, what that means is, in the Old Testament construction of things, a man who disregarded the law was a lawbreaker. In other words, he had sinned, he was filled with sin because he was breaking, breaking, breaking laws. And a sinner’s prayers are detestable to God.
Now, you and I, we are righteous by faith. Our righteousness has been imputed to us by faith, not by keeping the law, but by faith. Because Paul explained in Romans 3 that nobody can be declared righteous by keeping the law. So, we have a righteousness that comes by faith, he said.
And so, our sins are forgiven, because our faith has made us righteous. However, we still sin and so we need to understand the dual nature, if you will, of our relationship with God. For example, does anybody have a verse 11:26 in your Bible? Anybody’s Bible have 11:26? One, two, three, some do and some don’t, right? Mine does not have verse 26. That’s right, it goes from 25 to 27. Some Bibles don’t have verse 26; here’s what verse 26 says:
If you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your sins.
Is that right? Is that what verse 26 says? Some Bibles have it, some don’t. And the reason for that is that the earliest, and considered to be most accurate, early Greek manuscript did not have verse 26, and that means that it was added later. It turns out to be an almost carbon copy of Matthew 6. It’s in Matthew’s version of the Lord’s Prayer.
So, it is a legitimate Bible verse in the Book of Matthew; not necessarily in the Book of Mark. And so, it’s not that somebody just scribbled something of his own idea, somehow a verse from Matthew got placed here. Nobody knows how or when, but that’s why some translations have it, and some don’t. It doesn’t really matter, by the way, because the point is made here without it.
Here’s the point. This helps us to understand the dual nature of our relationship with God. Turn over to Matthew 6 and start in verse 9. The disciples have asked Jesus how they should pray, and He says to them:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
And that’s one verse short of the way you learned it, but that’s the way Jesus said. The “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” was added later because this became a hymn, and that thing on the end is a statement that was added to the Lord’s prayer, but it’s not the Biblical version, it was the version that was adopted later. And so, the “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” came in as this prayer was turned into a hymn because it completed the thought of the hymn.
Okay, so it says in verse 12:
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
“As we have also.” It’s a conditional statement, you can forgive us our sins, as long as we have forgiven the sins of others, is what it’s meant to say.
Now look at verse 14, the prayer has ended; now He’s saying in explanation, 14:
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Okay? Now in John 3:16 the Lord said:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Period, right? And so, what is the condition for everlasting life, according to John 3:16? Belief. And what is this verse in Matthew saying? Forgive or else you won’t be forgiven. And so is it belief plus forgiving? Well, if it is that makes John 3:16 false, and yet here it is, and so there has to be two levels of the relationship. And that’s exactly what the case is, in fact, you can take all the verses in the Bible that have to do with things like this, and you can line them up underneath two headings.
The first heading is one I’ve arbitrarily labeled union with God. Union with God is eternal, once given it can’t be revoked, it’s based on belief. It’s what gets you saved. Once you are saved, the minute you are saved, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell within you as a deposit who guarantees your inheritance. And so union is eternal, it is unconditional, and it is irrevocable.
That’s the first phase, the first level of our relationship with Jesus. A born again believer has that basis and that guarantees your salvation.
Now Paul said, in a sense, in 1 Corinthians 9: “Don’t be satisfied with that. Go on to the next phase and achieve victory over this sin nature.” And he says: “When you do, you’ll be blessed beyond measure.”
In effect he was saying, “Don’t settle for (if I can use that phrase) don’t settle for salvation. Go on from there and achieve victory, the rest of what the Lord died for you to get.”
Because you know in John 10:10 He says, “I’ve come so they can have life, and have it abundantly.”
Now salvation gets you an abundance of eternity, but He was talking about life here. How do you get an abundant life here? You go beyond salvation to the next level, which I call fellowship. And fellowship is the day-to-day relationship we have with God here. Where union is eternal, fellowship is temporal, it’s within time, it’s Earthly. Fellowship is also conditional. Conditional upon what? “Forgiving each other so that we can be forgiven,” is one. In 1 John 1:9 John wrote, “If you are faithful to confess, the Lord is just and faithful to forgive and will purify you from all unrighteousness.”
He wasn’t talking about a prayer of salvation, he was talking to the Church, people who already believed. So what he was saying is, “When you believe, the Lord accepts you unconditionally.” You’re saved, you’re His forever. But we still have a lifetime here where we can enjoy great blessings from Him. Blessings of all manner, if we live in a way that pleases Him.
And so Paul, through all of his letters, (Peter, James, they all do it) admonish us to live in a certain way. Not to gain anything, as far as salvation is concerned because we already have it; not to keep salvation because plenty of verses tell us that once it’s given to us it never can be taken back, but to maintain a relationship with God, and to stay in fellowship with Him.
And we do that by confessing when we sin; every time we sin, we confess. And the disconnect that took place when we sinned is restored when we confess because God, you see, cannot have a relationship with somebody who’s an open or blatant sinner. He saved them, they’re going to be in Heaven with Him, but He can’t have a relationship with them here and now if they’re open and blatant sinners.
And yet we all sin; we can’t help ourselves. We have a sin nature that makes it impossible for us to stop. And so what’s the remedy? When we sin, we confess.
Now, failure to forgive a brother is evidence that you are in the sin of anger, isn’t that right? You fail to forgive somebody because you’re upset with them. God doesn’t care whose fault it is, friends. It doesn’t matter to Him. What matters to Him is that you confess and forgive. You know why? Because that’s what He did for you.
In Matthew 18 the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant, the king says, “I forgave you that huge debt, why can’t you forgive your brother those few dollars?” And of course the king is in the role Messiah, “I forgave you a huge debt,” He says to us, “A debt that would require your life and you still couldn’t pay it. I forgave it; why can’t you forgive your brother those little things that you hold against him?”
The failure to forgive one another is evidence that we’re dwelling in sin; that puts us out of fellowship with God. It also violates His Commandment that we love one another because you can’t love somebody that you’re angry with. Oh, you can feel the emotion for them, you can wish you would get better so you could love Him again, but the two emotions can’t exist, the anger overrides, and it drives a wedge between you.
Forgiveness brings you back together. You don’t forgive because the other person deserves it, you don’t forgive because you’ve become convinced that they didn’t do anything wrong, you forgive because the Lord asks you to as a sign of your gratitude for the fact that He forgave you, okay?
And if you want to read that Parable of the Unmerciful Servant in Matthew 18 that’s exactly what it says. He says, “I forgave you everything, why can’t you forgive your brother this little thing?”
He doesn’t get into whether the debt is legitimate or not, he doesn’t get into whether you’re charging too much interest, he doesn’t get into whether the other person has a payment problem, He says simply, “I forgave you everything, can’t you forgive him this little thing?”
And so, in this passage back in Mark 11 so we can get finished up here, whatever you pray for in faith, you can have. But when you pray, make sure that you are in fellowship with God. Fellowship means you’re on speaking terms, how can you pray to somebody you’re not on speaking terms with? [laughs]
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been wronged, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been hurt, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve been mistreated. Forgive. Because the Lord forgave you while you still hated Him, you know. Forgive, so that your Father in Heaven can forgive you your sins. Forgiving you your sins puts you back in fellowship, puts you back on speaking terms, and lets Him hear your prayer. It’s as simple as that.
We got a few more verses, and then we’ll be finished.
They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him.
Now they’re asking Him, He’s caused all this trouble, they say:
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
Today we’d say, “Who do you think you are, acting this way?”
“By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you authority to do this?”
Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—was it from heaven, from men? Tell me!”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘from men’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
So they’re kind of stuck you see. They can’t afford to admit either answer, if they do one they’re to blame for not believing it, if they do the other the crowd is going to rush up and cause a problem.
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.”
And that’s the end of the chapter. [laughs] Sometimes we have to cover ourselves for our own protection, right? And you know the phrase, and so that’s what they’re doing. They’re trying to cover themselves, not take either position because either way they’re going to be in trouble with somebody, and that’s not the way it works.
In the first place, did Jesus have to ask them the question to get the answer? Did He need for them to tell Him so that He would know what they were thinking? No, He already knew the answer. He’s checking to see if they’re willing to treat Him with some kind of integrity.
All right, that ends chapter 11, and in a minute I’ll shut off the recorder and I can take any questions that you have. But the big thing I want you to see for tonight is this two-leveled relationship. Union with God based on belief; it’s eternal, it’s irrevocable it can’t be taken away from you and it has to do with your life in eternity.
Fellowship is your relationship with God in the here and now, it requires that we confess when we sin so we can be restored to righteousness and be on speaking terms again. And that’s the very best way to restore power to your prayers. If there’s anything that you hold against anyone, if you have any resentment or any disappointment or any hostility or any frustration or any anger against anyone for anything, it’s hindering your prayer life. It’s taking power away from your prayer.
It doesn’t matter who is at fault. Confess and be forgiven, and then forgive whoever it is you have something against. If you can’t think of anything that you might be holding against somebody, if you can’t remember any residual anger or frustration or disappointment you have, ask the Lord to reveal it to you. Ask Him, “If there’s anything there that is hindering my prayers, Lord, please reveal it to me. I can’t remember it.”
He will bring it to your mind, I guarantee it. In fact, you may not be able to write them down fast enough! [laughing] He doesn’t want you to have this, it’s not hurting the other person, friend, it’s only hurting you, okay? Give it up, life’s too short. Okay, thank you.