Leaves or Fruit?

After a cool end to the week, I’m looking forward to some more spring-like temperatures. Grass has been greening up, and the daffodils are blooming. It seems that spring is in the air. Now, as I write this, they are calling for snow on Wednesday. We’ll see.

Good Friday is this week, and Easter will be observed the first day of next week. Today, I would like to share some thoughts from this past Sunday’s message. It concerns the cleansing of the temple by the Lord Jesus the day after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, and how it applies to each of us.

Our scripture passage is Mark 11:12-18: Having seen a fig tree with leaves and no fruit, Jesus condemns it for hypocrisy. Then upon 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?’ But you have made it a den of robbers.” 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.

Matthew tells us that when the religious leaders were challenged about their disrespect for God’s house, they challenged Jesus’ authority to kick out the money changers, heal the sick and forgive the sinners (Matthew 21:23). When he pointed out their hypocrisy, they may have been afraid he would throw them out next. Instead of making peace with him, they planned to kill him.

What is our response when Jesus, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, exposes hypocrisy in our lives? Do we desire to make peace with him, or do we want to deny the hypocrisy and kill him to preserve our double life?

Are we bearing fruit, or are we just showing an abundance of leaves?

Are we that much different than the crowds on the day he entered Jerusalem as the triumphant king? How many times have we proclaimed him King and Lord, and then turned our backs on him to remain loyal to the world?

Pastor Jerry

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