Monday: A Pure and Holy Passion

“Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it”

Luke 19:45  

Knowing that His hour of redemption was finally come, Palm Sunday began with Jesus fulfilling the prophecy foretold centuries early in Zechariah 9:9, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.” As Jesus sat on the young donkey He made His triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem where mass of nearly 3 million people were gathering awaiting the Passover celebration. Many who had heard the news of Jesus arrival after raising Lazarus from the dead came out and lined the road leading into the city waving palm branches and crying out as Jesus passed by, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

That night after spending the day being paraded through the streets of Jerusalem Jesus and his disciples returned to Bethany, located about two miles east of Jerusalem where he stayed at the home of Mary and Martha and Lazarus. They were close friends of Jesus and most likely hosted Jesus and His disciples in their home during Jesus earthly ministry, especially these final days in Jerusalem as it was unsafe for Jesus to stay in the city.  

The next morning which would be Monday, Jesus and His disciples returned to Jerusalem and Jesus did something very interesting along the way. He noticed a barren fig tree and He cursed it because it failed to bear fruit. Some believe Jesus cursing of the barren fig tree represented God’s judgment on the religious leaders of Israel who became unfruitful in their spiritual service to God. Others believe in a broader interpretation in that Jesus was referencing all believers, expressing in a vivid word object lesson. The cursed fig tree serves as a reminder that genuine faith in Jesus is far greater than outward appearance and that true, abiding faith results in spiritual fruit being born from a persons life.

When Jesus arrived at the temple the courts were packed with people, bottlenecked at the money changers tables who were rejecting the sacrifices of the people on the grounds of their imperfections and  extorting large sums of money to purchase what the religious leaders would call “acceptable sacrifices.” With righteous indignation Jesus began turning over the large marble tables of the money changers displaying the great strength He would have possessed as a carpenter. In doing so Jesus fulfilled yet another prophecy concerning the Messiah that we read in Luke 19:46, “saying to them, "It is written, 'My house is a house of prayer,' but you have made it a 'den of thieves.'"
We can’t miss the intent here. Jesus not only came to give His life as a ransom for many in just a few days, and not only would Jesus pay the price of our salvation when He would go to Calvary’s Cross and die in our place, the just for the unjust. Jesus came to give us new life now. the Bible tells us that sin so easily entangles us so praise God that Jesus is more than willing to come and drive out of our lives those things that are not pleasing to Him, the unfruitful things in each of our lives that if left unattended will seek to choke out the Word of God that gets planted in our hearts each and every time we read the word of God with an open heart.

The temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD and no Jewish temple has been rebuilt in Jerusalem to this day. The Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” You and I who have received the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ by inviting Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior are the temple of God today. The question that begs to be asked today is there anything in my life that is keeping me from coming to Jesus or serving as stumbling block keeping Jesus from me?

Pastor Greg Laurie said it best. Our lives are either a bridge or a barrier to Jesus. Jesus seeks to use our lives for His service and yet we need to examine our hearts daily and invite the Lord to examine it to. Is there anything in me that is hindering God’s work in me or through me? If so, Jesus doesn’t tell us to clean up our act, Jesus shows us that if we will confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin. Jesus will come and drive out those things that are unfruitful in each of our lives if only we will invite Him too.

Remember Jesus teaching in John 15:1-8 today, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.”

Experience the Passion Week for yourself today. Invite Jesus to drive out the things in your life, in your temple, the sin, the attitudes, the thoughts that are unfruitful to God. Enjoy the freshness of God’s cleansing power in your life and like King David be able to say,

“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Psalm 51:7



Michael Osthimer





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