In the morning as they went along, back to Jerusalem from Bethany the disciples saw the withered fig tree. It was withered all the way down to the roots. Peter remembered what Jesus had said to the tree the day before and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”
“Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And when you stand prayer, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”
Pause here for a moment and turn back to the Old Testament in Hosea 9. We need a brief history lesson here, Israel is divided into two kingdoms; the northern kingdom of Israel who’s largest tribe is Ephraim. The northern tribe divided themselves from the southern kingdom of Judah during the reign of Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. By doing this, Israel cut themselves off form the Temple in Jerusalem (which is located in Judah) and because of that worshiped God as they saw fit and by default stopped worshiping him all together.
Through the prophet Hosea, God is calling to his people to return back to him or he will bring his judgment on them through Assyria. Hosea 9:10, 16-17 say:
“When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
“But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.
Ephriam is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children I will slay their cherished offspring.”
My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him they will be wanderers among the nations.
This is the image of the fig tree that Jesus withered. Because northern Israel walked away from God, Jesus is telling his disciples to be faithful and believe. Spend time in prayer so you may stay close to God and yield good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).
The Authority of Jesus Questioned
As Jesus came into Jerusalem he went to the Temple and entered the courts. He began teaching the good news of the gospel, and the chief priests, and the elders f the people came to him and said, “Tell us by what authority you are doing these things. Who gave you this authority?”
Jesus answered them, “I will also ask you one question,. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism – where did it come from? What it from heaven, or from men?”
The discussed among themselves and said, “if we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘They why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’ – we are afraid the people will stone us, for they all believe that John was a prophet.”
So they responded to Jesus saying, “We don’t know.”
Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” He then began teaching them in parables:
Jesus Teaches in the Temple
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’
“’I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same things. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go.
“Which of the two sons did what his father wanted?”
“The first.” they answered.
Jesus said to them, I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did,. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.
“Listen to another parable: There was a landowner who planted a vineyard, He put a wall around it, dug a winepress in it and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away for a long time. When the harvest time approached, he sent his servants to the tenants to collect his fruit.
“The tenants seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, other s they killed.
“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’
“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.
“What then will the owner of the vineyard do to them?”
“He will bring those wretches to a wretched end.” they replied, “and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time.”
“May this never be!” some of the people said.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never ready in the Scriptures:
“’The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone:
the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
“Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. He who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.”
The teachers of the law and the chief priests looked for a way to arrest him immediately, because they knew he had spoken this parable against them. But they were afraid of the people.
Jesus continued teaching with the Parable of the Wedding Banquet in Matthew 22:1-14 and Luke 14:16-24.
Trying to save face the Pharisees, Sadducees, and teachers of the law began asking Jesus questions to trap him and make him look bad in front of the people who believed him to be a prophet.
They asked Jesus about marriage in heaven when people die and are resurrected. Jesus answered them, “You do not understand the things of God. At the resurrection people will be like the angels being neither married nor given in marriage. God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
Next they asked Jesus about paying taxes to Caesar. Jesus answered them by taking a Roman coin and asking, “Who’s image is on this and whose inscription?”
“Caesar’s,” they replied.
“Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” Jesus responded.
The people were even more amazed by Jesus now.
Seeing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees the Pharisees got together and asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus answered, “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind.’ (Deuteronomy 6:4) This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Leviticus 19:18) All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
The one who asked the question replied, “Well said, teacher. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Jesus saw that he had answered wisely and said to the man, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”
The Pharisees gathered together again to find another way to question Jesus. But Jesus asked them, “What do you think about the Christ, the Messiah? Whose son is he?”
“The Son of David,” they replied.
“How is it then that David, speaking by the Spirit, calls him ‘Lord’? For he says in Psalm 110:1,
“’The Lord said to my Lord:
Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies under your feet.’
“If then David calls him ‘Lord,’ how can he be his son?”
No one could say a word in reply, and from that day on no one dared to ask him any more questions. The large crowd listened to him with delight. As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teacher of the law. They like to walk around in flowing roped and be greeted in the marketplaces, and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widow’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.”
Jesus then taught the twelve
As Jesus was leaving the temple with his twelve disciples one said to him, “Look Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
And from here Jesus began to teach them about the signs of the End of age in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. After this he told them what would happen to him in Jerusalem soon, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!”
Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said and angel had spoken.
Jesus said, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine. Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the ear, will draw all men to myself.”
He said this for them to understand what kind of death he must face – crucifixion. The Jews still continued in unbelief even though Jesus did many miraculous things in their presence. This was to fulfill the words of the Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 6:
“He has blinded their eyes and deadened their hearts,
So they can neither see with their eyes, nor understand with their hearts, nor turn – and I would heal them”
Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about him in Isaiah 6.
What do you believe? Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God? If so what have you done about it? Do you obey his commands? Do you love him first and foremost in your life? Do you show this love by loving those around you?
These are all some difficult questions to ask and to even know how to answer. These are all questions that we will be discussing at our Cowgirl Conference on April 22, 2017. If you want to know the answers to these questions come join us for a time of fellowship, food and fun all while learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus and how you can be made into a new Creation through Christ.