Fresh Donkeys and Fresh Figs! (Part 2)
Mark 11:11-14, 20-26, 27-33; 12:1-12
Sunday, we looked at the original Palm Sunday. “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” Jesus chose to ride a fresh colt into Jerusalem. We looked at what Jesus could have been wanting to communicate by this action. Simply, Jesus completely controlled that animal and the animal completely submitted to the lordship of Christ. In the next passage, Jesus teaches another lesson using a fig tree. We cannot understand the full breadth of the cursing of the fig tree unless we see it contrasted against the backdrop of this submitted creature – the fresh donkey.
Jesus was entering Jerusalem again on Monday. He was hungry, saw a fig tree, but found no figs. No surprise here, because fig season was not for another four or five months. The surprise came when Jesus cursed the fig tree! Why would Jesus curse a tree for not having figs when it was not even fig season? Could Jesus have caused figs to grow? Of course! The day prior he caused a fresh donkey to submit. He is sovereign over all of creation! However, he did not cause figs to grow. Why? He wanted to teach the apostles and us an important lesson.
Yes. The fig tree represents Israel. God’s chosen people should have borne fruit by now. One may look at it as March/April is too early for figs, but what about last year or the year before that one? They should have received the Messiah and submitted to His lordship. Instead, Israel rejected their promised Messiah. This truth is huge, but Jesus was teaching his apostles a more important truth for the days ahead.
The next paragraph detailed Jesus cleansing the temple. Time and again throughout Jesus’s ministry, He confronted the religious elite. Jesus called them out on their vain religiosity as if to say, “You are dressing the part, but you are worshipping in vain.” Jesus repeatedly confronted the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees because of their empty ceremonies – their worship without fruit. (By the way, people today can be the same way. People today can seem to have religion, even look like and talk like Christians, and still they lack fruit in their lives.)
After Jesus cleansed the temple, He and the apostles left the city. Then on Tuesday, heading back to Jerusalem, Peter notices the fig tree had withered up from the roots. Peter drew everyone’s attention to the fig tree. Jesus then teaches the important lesson to which He had been leading. He said, “Have faith in God.” He continued to speak about having faith, and if we have faith we can say to this mountain to be moved to the ocean, to which the mountain will obey.
What does faith have to do with a fig tree withering? Jesus was getting ready to confront the most elite and most religious people in Jerusalem. However, these people worshipped in vain. Jesus submitted Himself to the Father, even to the point of death. Jesus was faithful. He was teaching a lesson and getting ready to model that same lesson. Soon after Jesus’s death, the apostles would too face these elitist groups who worship God in vain. They would need faith. They needed to remain faithful to God. Jesus was preparing his apostles and us for the battle ahead. For Him, the cross waited. For the apostles and for us, our own cross and the mortification of our fleshly nature. We must die daily. And, that takes faith. In remaining faithful to God, we will bear fruit – just as the apostles bore fruit.
Read through the remainder of the chapter through chapter 12 verse 12. Notice what Jesus quoted? This is the Lord’s work, and it is marvelous in our eyes. Only God’s work in our heart can bring about the faithfulness that bears fruit. Are you submitted to him today? Pray, God increase my faith.
Remember, I love you! I miss you! I’m here for you! Let me know how I can help and how I can pray.
Serving Christ by Serving You,
Fresh Donkeys and Fresh Figs! (Part 1)
“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” What a beautiful scene! Jesus riding into Jerusalem triumphantly on the back of a young colt. People laid down their coats and palm branches as Jesus passed. Everyone shouted praises to Him. I imagine most people thought that everything seemed perfect that day. However, what was Jesus thinking?
Let’s consider a few things. First, Jesus asked for a young colt that had never been ridden. One person described this colt as a “fresh” donkey. This colt had not been broken. Normally, if someone tried to ride an unbroken colt, it would try to buck off its rider and run away. However, Jesus is sovereign over creation. Jesus miraculously calmed the colt, so he could use it for His purposes. When we trust the Lord with all our circumstances and all our life, he gives us peace and calms us. Only with his peace and calm, can we fulfill his complete purpose for our lives.
Second, Jesus told his two disciples that if anyone asked about why they were taking the colt, simply say, “The Lord has need of it.” As these two disciples untied the colt, someone standing by asked, “What are you doing untying the colt?” We need to ask ourselves this question – Are we willing to sacrifice our projects and our possessions to the Lord’s purposes? Think about this colt a little more. Those men put in a lot of work to tie up that unbroken colt. No wonder they asked, “What are you doing?” when the disciples untied it! Just like that project, are we willing to sacrifice our projects for the purposes of Christ? When God asks as certain service of us, do we freely give it? Maybe, God is asking you to confess something publicly or give up something you’ve worked hard on. You should be obedient without reservation. The same goes for our possessions. Do you have anything that God is asking you to give up for His purposes? Be willing to sacrifice your projects and possessions to the Lord as soon as He asks.
Lastly, Hosanna literally means, “Save us, I pray.” Through the years of Jewish tradition, it became a term of praise. The Jewish people assumed that Jesus was entering Jerusalem to restore the Kingdom at that time. Not only did they miss the point of what was getting ready to happen (crucifixion), but the same people who cried our “Hosanna” on Sunday were the same people who cried out “crucify Him” on Friday. Do you remember 9/11? I remember on that day people were huddled together in prayer. Many thought God was using that tragedy to turn our nation back to Him. Our churches were full the Sunday after 9/11. However, they did not stay full long. A few short weeks later, as things returned to normal, people again stopped coming to church.
My prayer is that God will use this time to bring a lasting revival. May God use our present circumstances to honestly bring back to Himself a great number of people. If this revival is truly from God, it will last the test of time. Do not allow the promises you make to follow God fail when things go back to normal. Use these next few weeks to solidify your commitment to God. How? Determine now, in your heart, to attend the assembly of the church when we can once again gather. Determine in your heart to get involved and serve God through the local church. Make the commitment, now, to not turn back on the promises you are making to God today.
Lord willing, on Tuesday night, we will consider the Fresh Figs portion of this message!
I am praying for all of you! Please let me know how I can pray and how I can help.
April 2, 2020
Boxers, Go to Your Corners!
Jesus often retreated to a place where he could spend time alone with the Father. I don’t know about your house and your family, but for me and many others, life has been turned upside down these past two weeks. Then, I consider at least four more weeks! Wow! Is there an end in sight?
Jesus pulled away after a very trying time. People were fussing and “raging” (Luke 6:11). Instead of seeing the pharisees as evil bad guys here, consider viewing the scenario like this: the very people Jesus came to save were the people fussing and raging over him picking grain and healing on the Sabbath. Frequently, Jesus withdrew from even those he loved. He found a quiet place to get alone and pray. He spent time with the Father and drew His strength from God during those times alone. Also notice, when Jesus came back down from the mountain, He went right back to work. Our job is not finished! We have a mission, and that mission begins at home.
When tensions rise, find a place to “go to your corner.” Practice this separation periodically, yet in addition to your normal quiet time. We are made to be together, but we also are made for periodic rejuvenation by spending a special and extended time alone with God. You can survive this quarantine with your family! Draw your strength from God!
Remember, I love each of you. I am praying for you. I am here for you. Please, reach out if I can do anything for you. I am also working on better means of communication through the week. I hope to have something in place by the first of next week.
Serving Him by Serving You,
Silver Creek Baptist Church
Response to COVID-19
COVID-19 has pushed us all into unprecedented days. Many of us do not know what to make of the COVID-19 pandemic, but we can trust in our God. As the people of God, we should strive to strike a balance between two extremes. On one extreme, some people are dismissing the seriousness of this pandemic. On the other extreme, some people are fostering hysteria and fear. As Christians, we must stand between these extremes, loving God and loving our neighbor while taking the proper precautions against COVID-19 without inciting or giving place to fear. To the best of our understanding, the seriousness of this virus relates to how easy and how fast it spreads. The purpose of this document is to put into place a plan related to how our church will respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Phase 1: Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in SW Mississippi
Phase 2: Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in Pike or Walthall county
Phase 3: Confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis with a recent attendee at SCBC
A Note from Pastor Scott:
Leaders across the nation have called for Sunday, March 15, 2020 to be a day of prayer focused on the COVID-19 pandemic. As of today, March 13, we are still holding services as normal. When we meet Sunday, remember to limit physical contact as much as possible while washing and sanitizing your hands frequently. We feel the need to postpone the chili cook-off fundraiser scheduled for Sunday.
Remember, God is faithful. God is loving. God is all powerful. Although he does not promise that we will never get sick, he does promise to walk with us and even carry us through the darkest of days. Trust God during this season. In addition, be on the lookout for ways our church can minister to our community during the midst of this crisis. Be assured of my love and my prayers for you all.