THE K I N G ’ S BUS I NES S
Christ’s authority was further exer cised by His healing of the sick (v. 14). This healing whs in fulfillment of the prophet’s words which had de- elared that when Messiah came He would exercise power and authority (cf. Isa. 35:3-6). In spite of this fact, however, His authority was rejected by the leaders (vs. 15-17). But, by pointing to their Scriptures, He assert ed that they spoke of Himself and of His mission. Thus He condemned them because, not only had they de filed the temple, but they had also misused their office by leading the people astray. Resenting such con demnation as this, the leaders desired to kill Him (cf. Mk. 11:17, 18). II. T he R ejection of the N ation (18-22) The rejection of the nation is pic tured, prophetically, in the cursing of the fig tree. The vineyard seems to be a type of all Israel, and the fig tree appears as a picture of the remnant returned from Babylon, which rem nant should have been the Lord’s wit nesses. But these privileged ones had forgotten what they were in relation to their, God, and their religion had so greatly degenerated that it was merely a system of outward forms without any heart for God. Moreover, their witness actually was such as to make the Lord’s name to be abhorred among the Gentiles! Hence the curse was pronounced upon them. Our Lord here indicated that He would do no more for them until they, as a new people, restored and converted, would acknowledge Him as their Lord. They will yet be a new people, saved by the mercy of God and sanctified to the purpose of God. The quick drying up of the fig tree astonished the disciples, but the inci dent was used by the Lord to teach, among o t h e r truths, the power of prayer. Nothing is impossible to a people who will lay aside all other help and give themselves to believing prayer. When this is done, the Holy Spirit will direct the prayers, bringing them into accord with the will of God, and assuring answers. In the present day, filled with tremendous events, it is still the privilege of the church to lay hold of the arm of God, through prayer, and thus to see things ac complished which are b e y o n d the power of man to perform. The great need in our churches today is for a people who will pray “in the Spirit,” that is, according to the will of God. This kind of prayer is “believing” prayer and will obtain the desired answers (cf. Jas. 1:5-8; 5:17,18; 1 John 5:14, 15)., Points and Problems The first part of the lesson (Matt. 21:12. 13) deals with the sin of mak-
asked who Jesus was, you would be able to give a clear answer, or would your life show Him in a poor light? If you are envious, others will not clearly see Jesus in you. If your life is filled with pleasure, represented by the yellow color, you will not be able to give forth Christ’s true light. Purple stands for pride. Those who have pride in the heart ,cannot let the Lord Jesus shine through. Sin, like the dirt on this heart, has kept many from p r o p e r l y representing- Christ, This other heart is clear and lets the light shine through unchanged. I am sure this is the way God would have each of us be in order that Christ may shine through us to others. sacrifice at the temple than to bring them from home. The selling of ani mals, incense, and oil for use in sac rifices provided a source of profit which was eagerly embraced by the traders. The yearly tax which was re quired to be paid in shekels, called “temple shekels,” also gave opportu nity for gain to the money changers who c o n v e r t e d Greek and Roman money into the required “temple shek els.” So «eager for business were these traders that they had invaded the sacred precincts of the temple, thus defiling what should have been the house of God. Because of this manner of using the temple, it had become, in God’s sight, “ a den of thieves.” As Dean Farrar states, our Lord probably referred to the “foul caves which He had seen where brigands wrangled over their ill-gotten gains.” Instead of the tem ple’s being, a place for communion with God, it had become a place for commerce with men; instead of its being a place for God’s glory and worship, it had become a place for man’s greed and material gain. Men had exchanged spiritual values for supposed material gain. This same danger of exalting the material over the spiritual confronts us today. It must be remembered that however great may be the external glory of the building, the temple is useless unless the glory of God is fourrpl within it.
in appearance. The first- makes the light look green, the second yellow, and the third purple. The fourth is too dirty to let the light shine through clearly. The fifth is clear and lets the light shine through unchanged. I am wondering whether, if you should be
MAY 10, 1942 M O N D A Y : THE D A Y OF AUTHOR ITY M atthew 21:12-22
Matthew 2lil2 And Jesus went into the temple of God» and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple» and overthrew the tables of the money chang ers» and the seats of them that sold doves. 13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14 And the blind and the lame came' to him in the tehiple; and he healed them. 15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the tem ple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased, 16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them. Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babe's and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? 17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there. 18 Now in the morning, as he returned Into the city, he hungered. 1» And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto It, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20 And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto- you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, hut also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22 And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask In prayer, believing, ye shall receive. GOLDEN TEXT ; “Mine house shall be called a house of prayer for all people” (Isa. 56;7). DEVOTIONAL READING: Isa. 9:1-7« Outline and Exposition I. T he A uthority of the K ing (12-17) C HRIST’S authority was exercised in His cleansing of the temple (vs. 12, 13). He had rebuked the practice of conducting commerce in the temple precincts at the begin ning of His ministry (John 2:13-16). Evidently the people had refused His teaching in this matter. The practice of commerce in the.temple area had sprung up because worshipers coming from a distance found it more con venient to purchase their animals for
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