Monday, March 30, 2015

Ask to Learn...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

The day after the parade into Jerusalem, Jesus and his disciples walked into Jerusalem from Bethany for what would be the last time.  Luke records that Each day, Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.  (21:37-38)

Jesus spent the few nights He had left on earth out on the hillside.  We know no more than that.  But...could it have been Gethsemane where He went each night?  Was He spending each of those nights praying?  Was He establishing a pattern, so that His movements could be anticipated? 

But that second morning, on the way in from Bethany, Jesus noticed a fig tree, fully leafed out, and He went to get some figs, as He was hungry.

However, despite the showy promise of fruit, the fig tree had none. Zip.  Nada.

In what was a seemingly uncharacteristic show of irritation, Jesus actually spoke a curse over the fig tree...'May you never bear fruit again'...and went on into town into the temple.

None of the gospels break down the dialogues and discourses that took place in the temple over the next few days into a daily account.     Basically, the folks who were opposing Him tried again and again to trap Him into some verbal mistake or obvious error, and time and time again Jesus turned the tables on them and made them look foolish.

At the end of the second day, they went only to the hillside and spent the night, then returned to the city in the morning. Mark records, 'In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.' (11:20)

It had shriveled completely in 24 hours.  Matthew writes, Immediately the fig tree withered. (21:19)

Jesus uses that as a teaching moment for His disciples.  Not exhorting them about bearing fruit, not yet,  but as a demonstration of  the power of  true faith.

'If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.'  -- Matt 21: 22

They then continued on into the temple, where Jesus spent another day teaching the people and turning the words of the authorities inside out.

When they left the temple that evening, the disciples commented to Jesus on the magnificence of the temple and the huge stones that had been used to build it.

'Do you see all these great buildings?' Jesus replied, 'Not one stone here will be left on another; everything will be thrown down.' (Mark 13:2)....echoing his gut wrenching prophecy from the parade two days earlier.

That evening, sitting on the Mount of Olives with His disciples, Jesus answered their questions about His apocalyptic statements in what has been labeled the Olivet Discourse... recorded in Matthew 24- 25, Mark 13, Luke 21:7 - 36.

There were two days remaining until Passover (Matt 26:2).

When have I  mistaken God's acts of instruction as His judgement or anger?  What could He have been teaching me at that moment? What kept me from asking Him about it?

If I do not seem to be receiving what I am asking I really believing God will do it? Do I have assurance and conviction that I am asking in accordance with the authority of Jesus (John 15:16)?  Or am I praying incorrectly (James 4:3)?  Or is God answering it in a way I do not expect and therefore do not perceive?

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