A Current Bible Study:
Mark 11
"The Roots of God's Power"
        Verses1-3- "And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereupon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither."
        Power is very attractive. It fascinates us. In our day, all kinds of power are perhaps more desired and employed than at any other point in history. I have discovered in my music ministry that people today have little tolerance for a song with a slow beat. If you listen to some of the music of the past, you will begin to notice that the tempos and volume just keep going up and up. It is obvious to say that this is evident in the our sciences and transportation, and, well, just about everything in our world.
        Yet, surrounded by all this power, we often become anemic in true power, the Power of God. We do more, pray more, meet more, ask for more, but often we seem to get less and less of God's Power. God wants to bless us. But it must be on His terms and not our own. Beloved, let's look together at Jesus, God's Son, here in Mark, Chapter 11. He has full access to God's Power.
        Verses 1-3 above show just how confident Christ was as He entered Jerusalem. He had the Power to know what would happen next, he knew what people would say even before they spoke. And it all came to pass:

Verses4-7- "And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him."
Friend, don't focus on miracles. Focus on the mission of Christ. Sometimes we get miracle crazy, and we can forget that the miracles are a by-product of the mission. Christ's prayers are answered and power granted to Him because He is being obedient to God's will. Had he asked for a stallion to ride into the city, the answer would probably have been "No!" But Jesus was humble, and that's why He knew what to ask for. Do you know that Christ actually had a right to ride into Jerusalem on a stallion? It is prophesied in Revelation 6:2. Check it out. Do you see how obedient He is being here, how in tune with God's will at this time? And how purposely neglectful of the way that would seem best for Him? Friend, sometimes our miracles, too, have to wait so that God's mission to other's may proceed.
        Have you ever seen a full-grown man ride on a donkey? How about a baby donkey? He probably looked very unassuming, to say the least. In the future, and none of us knows exactly when, He will finally return to Jerusalem on His stallion. Then, every eye in the universe will be magnetically fixed upon Him! But here He accepts more lowly transportation. This is the root of God's Power: recognizing that the mission is to serve God and others ahead of ourselves.
Verses8-11- "And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way. And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out into Bethany with the twelve."
         I see a miracle here, too. I believe it was God's power that allowed this crowd to see the significance of Christ's obedient decision to enter the city at this time in humility and not judgment. I don't know how else they could have known. There were no angels or trumpets. Just Jesus, riding in humility, on a little donkey. I'm glad they were there. These folks were standing in for you and me, friend, praising our Savior at this great moment in history! He was about to save us, beloved! (If you want to see something interesting, look at what Jesus says about this crowd in Luke 19:39-40.)
        Notice where Jesus goes in Jerusalem. Straight to the temple. Straight to the center of worship to look around. We are told that in the final judgment, Christ will once again look first at the center of worship, His New Testament Church (see I Peter 4:17-18 and Luke 12:45-49). You and I need to reflect on that.

        In the next section we will see the beginning of a double demonstration of the Power of God. First, Jesus curses a tree (yes, a tree):
Verses12-14- "And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it."
This tree is to me a living parable. A round about way of explaining to the disciples (and to us) something that might otherwise be missed. And the context here is not aggressive gardening. It's worship, as we can see in the next verses:
Verses15-19- "And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine."
        He's going to astonish us all in a minute. Allow me to try and dig in here with the Lord's help. Do you see what's happening? I think this is a second living parable. He isn't going to be able to reform the temple or the Old Covenant system with His bare hands in this way. But it shows His intent, and the Father's will on maintaining the focus of the center of worship. I am reminded again that we are the temple of God today (see II Cor. 6:16). I need to remember that about you, beloved. I need to be careful how I behave toward you. For He will never again return on a little donkey, and the next time He will not cleanse with the bare hands of a man.

        Knowing the will of God is not enough. We need to believe that the Lord has the Power to accomplish what He has willed. Let's look at what the disciples saw next:
Verses19-22- "And when even was come, he went out of the city. And in the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God."
What he did with this tree, He was about to do with the entire Old Covenant system of worship, and will one day return to do to this entire planet. And this withered tree is a demonstration of His Power. Let's summarize from Christ's example for a moment:
1. There is no Power unless you are in the Lord's will
2. Miracles are never the object, but are subject to enabling
    God's mission
3. Christ's Power matched His humility and love
    (so will ours, beloved)
4. Real Power requires faith 

        Jesus still astonishes folks today! Just listen:
Verses23-24- "For verily I saw unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them."
    This is not the Christian snake oil it has been made out to be at times. God's Power is REAL. We can find it when we get in tune with His will, get in line with His mission, and seek the faith to accept His Power. Friend, God has never gotten out of the miracle business. But we mustn't demand a stallion, when His will requires a lowly donkey. Christ says more:
Verses25-26- "And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses."
Too often, I forget to forgive and love others in my quest for power. But when I have sought the benefit of others and have left my own plight, by faith, in God's hands, I have seen miracles. They didn't all help me immediately, but they satisfied my soul in the long run. O, to love others and to trust God today, that brings down the Power!

from Verse28- "By what authoriy doest thou these things?"

        In the final passage, on through verse 33, Jesus is confronted by the religious leaders of the Old Covenant in Jerusalem. Without faith and full of fear, they will never understand the Power of Christ. Maybe I haven't either. I go around publicly, and tell others and myself to act like Christ. But no man except for Christ has ever had the kind of Power that is unfolding here:
1. If you want to see just how unique Jesus is, look at what is said of Him in the prophesy of the final judgment in Revelation 5:1-9. 
2. How about what He says of Himself in John 10:15-18?
Hallelujah! Praise God! We humble ourselves greatly whenever we say we are trying to imitate Christ. Yet it is our honor, beloved, to bear His name, His shame and reproach (Have you ever seen a man ride on a little donkey? Have you ever seen a man hang on a cross?). United in His Love, we can bring His Power to the earth today!
May Jesus Christ richly bless you-JKD 3/28/04


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