One of the strong points used by the Word of Faith preachers when they make presentations on the subject of FAITH, is quoted from Mark 11 – which seems to be used as a principle or strategy at which a Christian can get things – most especially material things from God. From their perspective, if you had to operate in the FAITH that gets things from God, you must be aware of this particular portion of scripture. Kenneth Hagin became very popular because the bulk of his teachings are based on this part of the Bible.
Inadvertently, the pictures we have in our minds about God as Christians or as the children of God were formed by the many and varying perspectives of the books we read from many preachers or pastors we admired or have as our mentors. We quoted their books, we listened to their messages and many times when we try to defend the scriptures or at times when we debate the Bible, we found that we quoted these men whilst some tried to speak or sound like them. That is not to say that we are not meant to read or hear from these men; of course there is nothing wrong in reading books. We read more of their books than we read the Bible; because we held them in high esteem, we did not bother to check like the Berean Christians did in the Book of Acts in the 17th chapter.
We never believed they could be wrong and besides you didn’t want to suffer from the backlash of isolation or being ostracized if ever you mention that these men uttered wrong statements or were wrong in their dissemination of the Scriptures. One of the popular teachings of those days were that these men heard God speak audible things to them and guess what, there was no room to challenge them because it would have been seen as challenging God on what He told them. We were not allowed to think and come to tangible conclusions based on the Word of God.
The essence of this writing is to further address the fact that many of us have read into the Sacred Scriptures what we want it to say and have not read to draw out or to understand the meaning of what the text is saying or has said. The meaning of Scripture is the Scripture itself. Any addition or subtraction, then we lose the true meaning and power of it.
So what exactly did Mark 11 stipulate? Please read on!
Mark 11: 1 – 11
If we read towards the end of Chapter 10, Jesus was going to Jerusalem because He was drawing close to the end of His ministry here on Earth and the next thing was for Him to be killed and die so that He can be raised from the dead in accordance with the Will of the Father. This is the reason why He must go to Jerusalem. It was going to be Passover week, many animals were going to be killed in sacrifice and Jesus had to prepare to go as the final and perfect sacrifice unknown to many who were present on that day. The Passover was a grand celebration among the Jews; it was a time when many sacrificed to God assuming that their sins would be covered. According to prophecy, that day had to come:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
He told the disciples to get a colt which no man has ever sat on so that He could ride into Jerusalem NOT to be crowned King as the crowd misunderstood it to be. It was not anything official but according to the people who didn’t know what was going to happen, they thought they were making Him the King that He already was. Obviously Jesus wasn’t planning for any coronation but He knew He was on His way to be slaughtered for the Sin of Man. God’s thoughts would always be higher than ours at any point in time. No one would have believed the contrary on that blessed day, but Jesus knew the plan of God and He was on His way to die and be raised on the third day for our justification.
He finally arrived in Jerusalem and went straight to the Temple, and according to the Scriptures, it was late at night. Would there be a difference between the sacrifice they had at the temple and this new sacrifice? Will Judaism continue or is it going to come to an end? Obviously after Jesus is sacrificed, the killing of animals in the Temple must stop, as Heaven will no longer recognize them. Jesus is the perfect sacrifice. Something has to be done about Judaism and the relationship between God and His people must take a new turn. What was in the mind of Jesus was more than what the people were seeing.
Mark 11: 12 – 21
The second morning, Jesus woke up as He had planned on going back to the Temple. He was focused; it had to do with Israel and Judaism their mode of worship. The terms and conditions of making sacrifices were going to change; an end to animal sacrifices had come. Animal sacrifices couldn’t take away Sin; the real sacrifice has come. Were the people aware of this? No, they were caught in idolizing Jesus rather than look back at Bible prophecy so that they could understand the paradigm shift when it happened. They were still asleep in their minds!
On His way to the temple, the bible records that He was hungry and looking afar off He saw a fig tree full of leaves and as He drew near, He found out that there was no fruit on the fig tree. Since the fig tree had leaves, there should have been fruits on it too because leaves don’t come out before the fruits. It was the season of harvest, the Bible says but looking at this tree, the harvest would come and still there will be no fruits on it. He cursed the fig tree saying, no one would ever eat from it again. By the way, His disciples heard what He said to the fig tree. One would have thought that Jesus, because He was hungry would look elsewhere for food but the journey to the Temple continued. Like I said His focus was on Israel and their relationship with God coupled with the fact that the real sacrifice (which was Him) was soon going to be slaughtered.
They finally got to the Temple and found that rather than use the Temple for worship, the people used the Temple for fraudulent practices and more so a marketplace. There were people selling and buying animals; there were people who sold doves and others who were moneychangers. The Temple was supposed to be a place of worship; a place that was dedicated to the worship of God but they made it something else; an avenue to make money and defraud the people.
How were the people defrauded someone may ask? The people that were coming to attend the PASSOVER ceremony were supposed to bring their animals and when the Priest (s) decided the animals were not suited for the sacrifice, the people then had no choice but to buy the animals sold in the Temple for ten times the normal price of what they were sold for.
Jesus overthrew the tables of the moneychangers; casted out those that sold and bought animals and threw off the seats of them that sold doves teaching and admonishing all that cared to listen about the real reason why the Temple was initially dedicated. His house was supposed to be a house of prayer and not a place for thieves. The word THIEVES according to the Hebrew language gave a sense of PLUNDER: the people (who had come to worship God) were robbed (by the leaders who were in charge of the Temple).
When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning on how to kill him. But they were afraid of Him because the people were so amazed at His teaching. Little did they know that there was a particular day known to Heaven at which Jesus was going to be killed.
It was in the evening and Jesus had to leave and on their way back, the disciples were stunned as they noticed that the fig tree had withered; the same fig tree Jesus cursed on their way to the Temple. Immediately Peter called His attention to the tree not knowing that the fig tree was a symbol of what they had gone to do at the Temple. The Fig Tree was a symbol and analogy of the destruction of the Temple and indirectly an end to Judaism. There will be no more animal sacrifices as Jesus was preparing to be slaughtered.
The symbol of the withered Fig Tree was also a good opportunity for Jesus to teach His disciples who were oblivious of the fact that He was to leave them soon.
Please read the conclusion NEXT WEEK.
Keep it right here and be refreshed!