Sermon Summary from August 6, 2017
Mark 11:1–26 (NIV) • Torence Lu
Sometimes we can be blinded by our own expectations.
In verses 1-7, Jesus instructed his disciples to bring a colt from the next village, but doing so involved the risk of misunderstandings and confrontation. The disciples followed Jesus’ specific instructions and everything happened just as He said — the people let them go along
with the colt. This episode reminds us that we can trust Jesus when He calls us into fearful situations. Just as Jesus
commanded His Creation when he calmed the wind and the waves, He is Lord today of anything that feels overwhelming, risky, and dangerous to us. Sometimes we, too, are blinded by the expectation that God only works in ways we understand. If we obey Jesus only when we understand him or only when it’s comfortable, our faith won’t grow. Consider: How am I resisting God’s risky instruction that He may actually intend to strengthen my faith?
In verses 8-11, Jesus was welcomed into Jerusalem in a scene that echoed the spectacle of a Roman Triumph, with similarities to parades celebrating sports team championships. The Jews welcomed Jesus as their champion, expecting him to be a political king. Though he was a king, he was not the kind of king they had in mind. His identity was hidden in plain sight. Sometimes we, too, are blinded by our expectations of God and miss who He truly is. What perception or image of Jesus must I reconsider?
Finally, in verses 12-25, the accounts of Jesus cursing a fig tree, clearing the temple, teaching about prayer and forgiveness are told in a single intertwined account. Why? The fig tree represents the Jewish ceremonial temple system of sacrifices/offerings for the forgiveness of sins. The withered fig tree illustrates the impending barrenness of that system. One of the main problems was the potential to seem spiritual to others yet be spiritually unwell within. The disciples were blinded by this expectation: that those who were religiously active were spiritually healthy. In what way is my religious activity blinding me to my poor spiritual condition? Forgiveness for sins only comes through trusting that Jesus’s sacrifice is enough. That’s why we must trust Jesus today! Forgiveness is evidenced in our relationships. When we understand how much we have been forgiven by God, we are able to forgive others. Whom have I been unwilling to forgive? What grudge am I unable to let go? CS Lewis said: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”