Sermon and Bible Study Database
Author: Kent Berghuis
House of Prayer, or Den of Thieves? Mark 11:11-33 Intro: The son's test. Main idea: We must offer worship that is undefiled by hypocrisy and instead full of faith. I. The cleansing of the temple--Jesus does not tolerate religious hypocrisy (11-19). --This happened immediately after the triumphal entry, where Jesus was proclaimed as Lord and King--with the authority to lead. --The moneychangers exchanged Roman money for the local shekels, required as a temple gift based on the OT law. They were not merely conducting business, but they were also extorting the captive crowds. The doves were for offerings for the poor, and the merchants charged excessive prices. --This took place in the area known as the "Court of the Gentiles" or Nations, the only place where foreigners were allowed. This is why Jesus quoted Isa 56:7, "a house of prayer for all nations." --The temple had become a sort of "hideout" for the religious/political gangsters of Jerusalem. They were supposed to be leading their nation toward God, but instead, they were extorting it and living hypocritically. Perhaps we could use a dose of the Lord's righteous indignation at this time in our nation. II. The cursed fig tree--Jesus wants us to practice pure prayer (20-25). --The fig tree is a symbol for the nation of Israel and its temple, and Jesus stages this demonstration as a teaching opportunity. The temple and the nation would be destroyed because they had not produced the fruit that God sought. --The occasion becomes an opportunity to talk about prayer. The disciples' amazement prompts Jesus to teach that prayer should be: 1. Full of faith (22-24). --God can remove obstacles like mountains. 2. Free from resentment (25-26). --Our prayers are hindered by our hypocrisy. III. The questioning--Jesus needs no other authority than what he already has (27-33). --The leaders' indignant question: Who gave you this authority? (27-28). --Jesus' confusing, clarifying question: Who gave John his authority? (29-30). --The leaders' evasive response: We don't know (31-33a). --Jesus' candid response: I won't tell (because you already know and won't obey) (33b). Conclusion: 1. Are you harboring hypocrisy in your life? Cast it out quickly--don't let your heart become a hideout for outlaw attitudes and actions. 2. Are you praying with faith and freedom? God is looking for true worshippers. 3. Have you submitted to the authority of Jesus? He has every right to direct your life.