Day 22: When Jesus Gets Mad (11:12-26)
(1) Jesus is depicted in this passage as the eschatological judge. Do we find it difficult to see Jesus as our judge? Do we have things to be fearful of? (89)
(2) Are we faithful in repentance and forgiveness of others, or do we find ourselves harboring bitterness? If so, do we not heed the warning of Jesus that our prayers will be hindered? As God’s forgiven people, we have been forgiven so much. Why then do we allow unforgiveness to fester?
(3) Why do we find it so difficult to pray big prayers? What are some big prayers God has answered for you in the past?
(4) In what ways do you find yourself turning God’s gift into a private, materialistic gain for self, rather than in service to the Kingdom?
(5) How can we keep bitterness from becoming a detriment to our prayers? Who do you need to forgive today?
Is my heart the court of the gentiles? Have I set up distractions in it that would cause myself and others to have to move around and be diverted away from the Holy God? Do I bar my doors so that Jesus can’t come in and upturn what idols I have placed there? Lord help me to see the obstacles that are between me and you and give me the strength to let you remove them.
Forgiving others, although necessary for believers, is rarely easy especially when you have been truly wronged. In light of us friction, we are often quick to give an obligatory forgiveness to our brother/sister yet we harbour bitter feelings in ways that cause us to be defensive or picketed from these same “forgiven brethren.”
Jesus charge gives us two warnings to heed. 1.) Our prayers to God will be hindered until true forgiveness and repentance has transpired (c.f. Ps. 66:18; 1 Peter 3:7). 2.) If we are unwilling to forgive others, why would we feel entitled to the greatest debt ever paid by God in the person of Jesus Christ on our behalf (c.f. Matt. 6:14-15).
Why then do we allow sin to fester? Well, frankly it is our flesh wanted to deal more harshly to those who have wronged us than we expect others to do to us. We want an extra punishment to be dished out on our behalf and our flesh does not like when someone seems to just “get away with it.”
The most pivotal thing for me to remember is that the great exchange, where Jesus took my sin and granted me Christ’s righteousness, is the ultimate example of how those in Christ never have a leg to stand on when they want justice done on their behalf. In Christ, the unjust were made just for no reason other than God’s great mercy and pleasure.
I’m moved by the understanding of the lack of spiritual fruit produced in Israel. God’s chosen people are again in need of a rebuke, thus Jesus cleanses the temple. He says that his house is a house of prayer for ALL nations. God’s church is for all nations and peoples.
Also, what I offer to God in prayer comes from a heart that believes God to do a humanly impossible feat. I trust Him with my needs.