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When Jesus Lowered the Boom, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll
The Truth Network Radio
September 16, 2021 7:05 am

When Jesus Lowered the Boom, Part 2

Insight for Living / Chuck Swindoll

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September 16, 2021 7:05 am

The King’s Commission: A Study of Matthew 21–28

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How should we respond when someone commits an egregious offense? Are there reasons for you to stand up against something that is going on that ought to be stopped?

To fold your arms and to look the other way is absolutely the wrong thing to do. If you do not go, then support those who do go. If you do not speak up, then stand alongside those who will. Jesus did what was right even though it enraged the leaders. Yesterday on Insight for Living, Chuck Swindoll started his message with a personal question. He said, can you remember the last time you got really angry for the right reason? It's an interesting question because we spend most of our energy trying to restrain our temper. But the Bible teaches there are times when anger is completely justified. And during the next half hour, we'll follow along as Chuck recreates a scene in Matthew chapter 21 when Jesus flipped tables in the temple. What offense triggered Jesus' unbridled anger?

Chuck titled today's message, When Jesus Lowered the Boom. Worship is really a human response to a divine revelation. When we pray, we are responding to our Heavenly Father who has invited us to do so. When we teach, we are declaring his truth for his glory so that people might understand, apply it, and live a better life. When we pray, we ask for the Lord to have his way in this situation, whatever it may be. Some of you are facing some real challenges, and you're absolutely at a loss to know what you should do.

That's when the best thing you can do is pray. Join me as we together pray before this offering, which is also an act of worship. A few moments ago, our Father, there were parents who stood. There were graduates who stood in front of us, and we realize each family is, has reached a milestone in their lives, and we're all grateful for that. Thank you for seeing them through the challenges, the joys, as well as the hardship and the tough times. Thank you for relationships that grow over time, for the love of a mother and father for a child, and the same for young adults looking over their childhood years and teenage years, loving and respecting their parents for all they've gone through together.

Thank you, Father, for your wonderful presence and blessing. There are still unanswered questions we all have. Who knows what the future holds?

Who knows if a dream has come from you or from oneself? Who knows what the outcome will be when another graduation occurs and a degree is earned and another phase of life begins? Who knows if we will even be here four years from now?

Four years from now. With that at fault in mind, our Father, we acknowledge that without you, we are awash, adrift. We are left to our own devices, and we've been there enough to know that's often a dead-end street.

So guard us from going there. Remind us to lean on you, to trust you, and to give you what is before us, whatever that may be, and to rely on you when we cannot see what is around the corner of the future. Minister in a wonderful way today as you address subjects that are unusual to hear in a church. May we hear them. May we not misunderstand them. May we walk out of this place better people than we arrived. And may you have your way in the way we carry out our lives, for your purpose and glory. Now Father, I want to thank you for your forgiveness.

We've all passed through this journey enough to enumerate the things we've done that have been wrong. They often haunt us when we come to a place of worship. We pray we'll be freed from that when we remember that if we confess our sins, you are faithful and righteous to forgive us and to cleanse us.

And so as clean vessels prepare our minds for the sowing of the seed. And as we give of our gifts today, remind us that they will in many ways go to places we will never go, and they will touch lives we will never meet. They will minister in ways we will never hear about. And so we give confidently that you will use these gifts for those purposes. Bless those in a very special way who represent you in difficult places, some as missionaries, some as warriors, some as those working in secret, and those who serve you in very dangerous, difficult circumstances. Minister through them, to them, and because of them, to others. We give our gifts to others. We give our gifts confidently. In the name of Jesus, and for His sake alone, we pray.

You're listening to Insight for Living. To study the book of Matthew with Chuck Swindoll, be sure to download his Searching the Scripture Studies by going to insightworld.org slash studies. And now the message from Chuck that he titled When Jesus Lowered the Boom. Jesus is walking into a large worship area called the Court of the Gentiles. The temple is a vast bit of architecture.

The temple includes this outer court which covers one of my resources says 35 acres, acres of space. When worshippers came, they would come, unlike today, with animals. And they would bring their animals that would be sacrificed, and the blood that would be poured out would be a part of the forgiveness process that God would honor.

Over time, all of this became corrupt, and the leaders, because of their greed and pride and unaccountability, turned the whole thing into, well, a bazaar. For example, when you came as a visitor from another country to worship at the temple, you could bring your animal, but the leaders at the temple would disqualify that animal for the simplest of reasons. The point is, you have to buy one of theirs. And when you buy that animal, you have to pay 10 times more than the animal would normally cost extortion. You would come with money from the country where you were living, and you now must exchange the money into the coin of the realm of Jerusalem.

They would charge you 25 percent surcharge for all the change in that money process. It is a classic case in point of corruption. Now, what you have to understand is that those who were behind it wore their robes of religion. They looked so religious. They were proud of their robes.

All of it is an empty pretense. They were studies in hypocrisy. In fact, the one who was behind it is a man named Annas, A-double-N-A-S. The whole courtyard scene came to be known as Annas Bazaar.

It was a joke. And what was meant originally to be acts of worship turned into, well, desecration. When Jesus walks in on the scene, and he lowered the boom, and it was a side of him they had not seen before. Interestingly, Jesus does it all alone. You don't read a word about the disciples helping out.

They don't want to get involved in this. I mean, after all, Annas is a powerful man. By the way, he's one of the reasons Jesus was later arrested. He never forgot this. He's the godfather of the religious establishment, and he despises Jesus.

Tables are turned over, doves are flying, animals are rushing here and there. And while Jesus is doing all of this, verse 13, he's quoting verses, and he does it from memory. He quotes from Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah chapter 7. He says, Scriptures declare my temple will be called a house of prayer, and you have turned it into a den of thieves. He yells not at the worshipers who had come, but at the leaders who were behind all of this corrupt activity. Interesting, as soon as he, if you will, cleans the place out of all of this corrupt activity, look at what happens, verse 14. The blind come, and they receive sight.

The lame come, and they are healed. And children come, and they are shouting praise to God for the Son of David, a messianic statement, and the leaders watch all of this. And though the miracles were true and real and life-changing, and though the children's songs were innocent songs sung in praise, the reaction of the leaders into verse 15, look for yourself, they were indignant. The word has in mind they were they were livid. They were angry beyond words.

Why? For all the wrong reasons. That's an anger that's a wrong anger. He had done what is right, but because he messed up their religious playground and the income they had counted on for that day, and he had exposed the wrongness of their activities, they hated him for it. In fact, he has enough presence of mind to say to these leaders who were staring him down, do you hear what the children are saying?

Have you heard their words? They ask him that, and then he says, yes, haven't you read the scriptures? For they say, you have taught children and infants to give you praise. Right out of Psalm 8, verse 2.

Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight. Before I go further, I really have to add something of a practical nature. We live in a corrupt world. Now, nobody died and left one of us in charge of this corrupt world.

We'll never be able to clean it all up. We can't. We pray. We do what we feel we should be doing as we live our lives as good Christian people, but there are times when it is only right for you or me to step up.

And step out. I had a man say to me following our first morning worship service as he sat just sort of riveted during the message. I talked to him later, I've never seen him before, but he said to me, I want to thank you for what you said. I am right now in our home dealing with something that is an absolute mess.

He didn't tell me what it was, but he said, you gave me encouragement without realizing, because I need to be standing where I'm standing. Standing against what's going on around me. And if it continues, it will ruin our family.

If it continues, it will ruin our family. I want you to think about that statement, each one of you. It says one thing to one of you and is something else altogether different to someone else, but your great tendency because of whatever reason, insecurity, what people will say, the boss may call you in, or you may look foolish, or you may not have all the facts, or it could get dangerous, or whatever the reason, I want to encourage you at those times when you really should speak up, to speak up. Because our forefathers did at certain times, we are today free. Because David did at the right time, a giant was killed. What is this uncircumcised Philistine mocking the armies of the living God? And then when they talked to him about what he thought about doing, he's going to go slay the giant, he simply said, is there not a cause?

And we all centuries later admire this young shepherd who with sling and stone kills the giant because there was a reason. Are there reasons for you to stand up against something that is going on that ought to be stopped? In rather recent years, some have had the courage to stand against human trafficking, and because they have, dangerous though it is, and believe me it is dangerous, they have rescued who knows how many young ladies from those who would ruin them.

Use them and ruin them. I'm so grateful for that kind of courage. And when you do that, I want to assure you it is the right kind of anger.

To fold your arms and to look the other way is absolutely the wrong thing to do. If you do not go, then support those who do go. If you do not speak up and stand alongside those who will. Jesus did what was right even though it enraged the leaders. Remember, he's wanted in this city. There were those disciples who said we're going to go to Jerusalem, knowing that he was a marked man, and here he is cleansing the temple.

You got to admire him. These leaders were thinking of the money they lost, the embarrassment they felt when he said to them, have you not even read the scriptures, they who were so supposed to be such scriptural giants, and the children who shouted praise, do you not realize they are the ones who were in the right, and these men are indignant. They're so covered with their hypocrisy, they cannot see themselves as they really are corrupt to the core, so they they slip away to Bethany, a little quiet village outside Jerusalem. By the way, before I go there, let me add that the reason it incensed them so when the children use these messianic words is because he wasn't the kind of messiah they wanted. They were looking for one who would come with political power and and and with military might and with economic prosperity and overthrow Rome, get the swine out of our lives, and bring Israel back to its own rightful place with authority and power, but he didn't come for that reason. He came to die. They didn't get that.

In fact, they didn't want that. That's not the kind of messiah we anticipated. He knew that, but he pressed on. And now we we get to the little village and and this is the part you have to really think to understand it.

I wrestled with it for hours. He gets up in the morning and he's hungry. See that in verse 18, another characteristic of humanity. God's never hungry, but as a man he's hungry. So his hunger kicks in and as they are making their way to Jerusalem, the disciples around him on their way, he comes to a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs. Obviously he was going to eat some of them for nourishment, and he saw that there were only leaves. Now pause here because what we've just dealt with has nothing to do with figs or leaves unless you see this figuratively. Often Jesus's response and words and explanations have figurative things in mind and you have to realize that to understand them. He doesn't explain all of it. He saw only leaves.

You see this? And then he said to the tree, he talks to the tree, may you never bear fruit again and immediately the fig tree withered up. What's that about?

Why did he do that? Frankly, I think there is a symbol here that we shouldn't miss. He had just been dealing yesterday with those who are only leaves. There's no fruit in their lives. It was all the robes of religion. The leaves of hypocrisy covered their lives. They weren't interested in spiritual things.

They were interested in making a profit and lining their own pockets, remaining in power, carrying out their corrupt activities. All leaves. Jesus uses the tree as an example of that. I like the way one man puts it.

Listen to these words. A good expositor says it this way. Jesus's point regarding the fig tree was that Israel as a nation had an impressive pretense of religion, represented by the leaves, but the fact that the nation bore no spiritual fruit was positive proof that she was unredeemed and cut off from the life of the power of God.

He goes on. Empty religion almost invariably has many outward trappings in the form of clerical garments, investments, ornate vessels, involved rituals, and other such physical accoutrements. It is also typically characterized by repetitious prayers cited by rote and offered at prescribed times. Such were the meaningless repetitions of the Pharisees whom Jesus said were actually praying to themselves. Having seen hypocrisy on parade the day before, he uses the fig tree as an example so that he might teach the disciples.

Not sure they got it. In fact, they said to him as they were amazed, how did the fig tree wither so quickly? He doesn't really answer that question.

I kept looking for that answer, but it's not here because that's the wrong question. The question is, why would you cause it to wither? What was it about this that caused you to respond like that? Not how could it wither, or the obvious answer to how is that he's God and he can do anything. Matthew 21 contains a sequence of stories that attract our attention. A skirmish in the temple, Jesus healing the sick, and even a strange encounter with a fig tree. You're listening to Insight for Living. Chuck titled today's message, When Jesus Lowered the Boom. To learn more about the resources we have available for today's topic, please visit us online at insightworld.org. Over and over in scripture, we see that our God is just, he's fair, and he's compassionate.

And yet, nothing stirs his wrath quite like injustice. Well, in light of these issues, today we're pleased to point you toward a book Chuck's recommending. It's written by a fellow pastor who has keen insight on cultural issues of our time. Vody Baucom has written a thought-provoking book titled, Fault Lines, that helps Christians understand the nuances of the social justice movement. Like a fault line, these matters threaten to divide us. And whether you're a layperson who's trying to engage in grace-filled conversations on race, or a pastor who wants to address these important topics with the compassion of Jesus, you'll want to read Fault Lines.

You can purchase a copy right now by going to insight.org slash offer. Let me add that when you give a donation to Insight for Living, your gift is channeled directly toward reaching other people with Chuck's Bible teaching. So they can benefit from life lessons just as you have, and your gifts are truly making a difference. One of your fellow listeners left this comment that said, this study of Matthew is fantastic. And another said, I've been going through a difficult time and I find myself strengthened as I listen. Bless you for making this ministry available.

Well, these moments are sponsored by all those who give. And to contribute right now, call us. If you're listening in the United States, call 800-772-8888, or give online at insight.org. Again, that's insight.org. I'm Wayne Shepard for Dave Spiker, inviting you to join us again tomorrow to hear the Bible teaching of Chuck Swindoll on Insight for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-08-22 19:39:01 / 2023-08-22 19:47:22 / 8

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