Last week I prayed with women in Manhatten, women to whom our own Laura and I ministered last fall. They are in the center of the pandemic and are praying nightly. Though they are truly suffering, they also have great hope, as we can have as well. Death has been defeated.
Because we are taking 6 months to go through Mark, we aren’t at Easter yet, but it is an appropriate lesson, for in this time of Covid 19, we cannot help but examine our own hearts, which this week’s lesson does again.
So here is a riddle for you.
What did people waving palm branches for Jesus,
the imposing temple in Jerusalem,
and the leafy fig tree have in common?
They all had a flourishing appearance of life
but inside they were dead, hollow, and fruitless.
Jesus later uses a metaphor for this, telling the Pharisees that they were like “white-washed tombs full of dead men’s bones.”
That is our symbol for the week.
Because it is our nature to fail, to sin, we need power from on high. We need to abide in the true Vine to bear fruit, and the moment we walk out of the light, out of love, we must be good repenters, turning from sin and trusting He will meet us.
For He will be faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
I tremble at all of this, for as a teacher, I know I will be judged more severely. I often am not what I seem, so I fall before Him, asking again for cleansing, for mercy, for power to be what I simply cannot be on my own. (Pray for me!) May I, and all of us, be good repenters. Oh, help us, dear LORD.
Highlight from Last Week:
I’ve loved having some of our regulars from the past return — I’m afraid to name them in case I miss someone, but I feel like an old friend has been able to come through the door, and it is wonderful to see them – especially in this time of social isolation.
Also, John Piper spoke on The World and Everything In it on the pandemic and judgment, which seems fitting with this week’s lesson. He also has a book on it you can get for free from them in audio, e-book, or paperback (they explain how on this link) Here is the link to that segment:
- What stands out to you from the above and why?
- How are you celebrating the resurrection in this time of Covid 19?
- Let us begin this week as good repenters, asking God to search our hearts and help us truly turn from our wicked ways, trusting Him to meet us. Do it here or privately.
Monday: All This Was Prophesied
3. How does Zechariah 9:9 say the Messiah will come? How does this show the juxtaposition of royalty and humility?
4. What does Malachi 3:1-2 say the Messiah will do? To what is He compared in verse 2 and what light does this shed?
5. What analogy does Isaiah 5:1-7 make and how does this relate to the fig tree Jesus saw that had leaves but no promising buds of figs?
6. What does it mean to you that God gave us prophecies concerning the Messiah? Give Him praise.
Tuesday: The Colt and The King; The Lamb and the Lion
7. Read Mark 11:1-6
A. What happened?
B. Does anything in this passage quicken you or confuse you? If so, what? Why?
8. Read the opening of Keller’s chapter 13, The Temple, up to Opening the Temple and share your notes and comments.
9. How has the Lord been both gentle and severe with you? Can you give praise for both?
Wednesday: Desecrating The Temple: Using God
If you have time, to prepare your heart, watch the pilot episode of The Chosen here, noting particularly the experience of the shepherd who was crippled for it fits for the main message of this week. (Dallas Jenkins made this just for the Christmas Eve service at his church, but it was given to producers who were excited about how this could lead to a series.) The World and Everything In It just reviewed this series and gave it high marks. If you do watch, I love hearing all your reactions. I basically really like it, and I feel God is using it, though some parts, gave me pause.
If you a
10. If you were able to watch the above, what stood out to you and why?
11. Read Mark 11:12-22
A. Though it was not the season for figs, the fig tree, if it was going to have figs,
should have shown buds for figs, but it did not. What did this symbolize and
what did Jesus do? Why, do you think?
B. What does Jesus do in verses 15-17? Why do you think he calls the temple a
house of robbers?
C. Have you or do you ever have a tendency to try to use God instead of serving
Him? If so, how? Let’s be vulnerable and good repenters here.
D. What happens in verses 18-21 and do you see any meaning in the
juxtaposition of these two incidents?
E. What antidotes does Jesus give us in verses 22-25 to help us overcome
the poison of hypocritial hearts?
12. Allow these Scriptures to lead you into prayer.
Thursday: Opening The Temple
13. Read “Opening The Temple” in Chapter 13 and share your notes and comments.
Friday: Clearing The Temple
14. Read “Clearing the Temple” in Chapter 13 and share your notes and comments.
15. Read Mark 11:27-33.
A. What happens here?
B. In the early part of Mark, the people were impressed that Jesus taught with
authority. Now, why the shift?
16. Do you have a God Hunt to share?
17. What is your take-a-way this week and why?