Tuesday, March 18, 2008

My Easter Preparation - Tuesday

Jesus came into Jerusalem in His triumphal entry on Sunday (even though we focused on it yesterday), and He was arrested on Thursday evening. So what did He do in between Sunday and Thursday?

A few things we know...

He stayed at night in the small town of Bethany. Bethany was about two miles from Jerusalem proper. Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, and Mary and Martha lived in Bethany, so it is likely that He stayed with them. What must it have been like to be Jesus' host during this last week of His life? This was a week when Jesus' humanity and diety were uniquely displayed and contrasted. I wonder what wonders Mary and Martha saw and heard that week?

There is another thought provoking thing about Jesus staying with Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Can you think of what it is? What was the most wonderful, amazing event in the lives of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus? Think about it. And what will be the climatic event of this Easter week for Jesus? Resurrection!

When Jesus resurrected Lazarus from the grave, He was giving us a glimpse of the real 'power of the resurrection' that would be ultimately displayed on what we now call Easter. There is no bibilcal account of this happening, but I wonder if there were not some side conversations between Jesus and Lazarus about what was about to happen. What might Jesus have said to Lazarus? What might Lazarus have said to Jesus? What kind of unusual camaraderie might they have had? One day we will stand next to Jesus in resurrected bodies. What will that camaraderie be like?

We also know that Jesus did some other things between Sunday and Thursday...
  • He taught.
  • He did at least one miracle.
  • He celebrated the passover meal with His disciples.

Let's focus this morning on the miracle Jesus performed. Read these parallel passages of Scripture:

  • Matthew 21:18-20
  • Mark 11:13-21

Let me answer one question that everyone has when they read these passages. If it was not the season for figs, then why was Jesus upset that the fig tree had no figs? The answer lies in the leaves. A fig tree grows figs first and leaves second. If a fig tree has leaves, then it is advertising that it has figs.

So here was a fig tree, that has one purpose... to produce figs, that is saying by its leaves that it has figs, but is barren. Jesus curses the tree.

Jesus is in the business of doing some fruit inspection. And as Christians we are advertising that there are certain things that are true of our lives and lifestyles. What if Jesus did some fruit inspection of our lives? What if He were to look closely for the evidences that we are fullfulling our purpose? What kinds of fruits would He discover that we are bearing for Him in our lives?

Take a few minutes, and do a little fruit inspection yourself. Not of others, but of your own life. What ways can you see that you are bearing fruit for God's Kingdom and fulfilling your God-given purpose? What fruits would others be able to see? What fruits would the Lord commend in our lives, or what fruits would He say were lacking?

Imagine that you are the tree Jesus sees on the road to Jerusalem... how would you fare?

Pastor Noel