Saturday, February 11, 2017

Mark: The Jesus you like and the Jesus you don't like

Mark 10:46-11:17

After Jesus got done chewing out his disciples again about trying to be the greatest, they came to Jericho.  A blind man interrupted him, and Jesus healed him.  Not without his disciples trying to get the man to shut up, however.  Jesus had to stop them so that he could heal the man.

Finally, they reach Jerusalem.  Jesus sends his disciples to get a donkey colt from a man they don't really know.  If anyone asks what they are doing, they are to say, "the Lord needs it," and everything will be fine.

Then, Jesus rides through town on the donkey.  This is what we celebrate on Palm Sunday.  When Jesus comes to Jerusalem this time, it is to die, but his disciples still don't get that.  They are celebrating Jesus, and a bunch of town people are throwing coats and palm branches in front of him like he is a great king.  And he is a great king.  They are shouting, "Hosanna" which means "God save us."  This is the last week of Jesus's earthly life and they don't even know it even though he told them that he would be crucified.

The next day, Jesus does an odd thing.  He looks at a fig tree that apparently has inviting leaves.  He finds not figs.  It is not fig season.  But he kills the fig tree.  Here, we find the Jesus you don't like.  People like the Jesus that heals blind people and the one who rides through town on a donkey that people celebrate.  But when he starts to reveal that he truly is God and not just your homeboy in the sky, then people get scared.

And truly, nobody that God created deserves to live.  All humans have betrayed their creator and done what they should not do and sinned.  We all deserve death and we all start out hellbound until Jesus saves us through is mercy and sends his Spirit to grow us in maturity and holiness.  And sometimes, to show that God does not have to extend mercy, he kills a fig tree.  He is not going to save everybody and he is not required to do so.  Mercy is a gift that God gives freely.

And next, Jesus attacks the Pharisees in the temple because they are selling sheep and animals for Passover sacrifice.  If there is anybody who suffer from entitlement issues with God's mercy, it is the Jewish religious leaders.  They are naturally-born Israelites and have the Law of Moses and follow every jot and tittle and make rules around the rules to make sure they don't fall.  But they get so bogged down with the law that they forget the God they are supposed to serve.  So, Jesus destroys their Black Friday sale, turns tables, gets out a whip, and drives them out of his temple.

People, don't ever become so confident in yourself that you feel like God is happy with whatever you do and that he owes you his love and favor.  He does not owe me anything good.  He has been so gracious to me and he wants to be gracious to you.  Will you humble yourself before the Father and accept Christ's blood shed on your behalf and allow the Spirit to teach you?  Will you put away your sins and stop defending them and let Christ heal you?  Or will you simply set up shop in God's house and act like you've earned the right to be there?

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