Book of John Bible Study Book 2 Week 5

The Word One to One Book 2 pages 14-25

John 2:13-22

Download Book 2 here

February 2-8, 2020

Information on this study is here

Welcome to week 5! It’s open mic here….

What would you like to share about this week’s reading?

1 Like

This is one of those moments in the gospels that shock us, I believe. We don’t expect Jesus to speak and act unreasonably or aggressively; and yet, he appears to do so on a few occasions, two examples being when He curses a fig tree for not having fruit out of season (just before clearing out the temple courts, in Mark 11:12-25), and again when he seems dismissive, uncaring, and insulting towards the Canaanite woman begging him for help, in Matthew 15:21-28. What we learn is that we have to look deeper, understand what is happening beneath the surface appearance of these events. In the temple, Jesus is fulfilling one of the prophecies and laying his claim to authority. With the Canaanite woman, whom he does end up helping, I believe he is being deliberately provocative to challenge his disciples own beliefs about who is worthy, and that he is also testing the woman’s faith which proves to be great.

That said, I have honestly never really understood the story of the fig tree! Nevertheless, I know there must be a lesson in there somewhere because Jesus would not just go around cursing fruit trees because he was having a bad day. Which brings me to the point that when we don’t understand, we need to struggle with that and not make hasty assumptions, right?

2 Likes

Hey friend! @tdw Thank you for the great post! I love how you brought together the perplexing actions of Jesus! It’s true, there are some times in the gospels when we take pause to think, “What was that about?”

It’s easy (for me) to forget that I’m reading another culture in another historical period, so not everything is in context for me, but it was deeply meaningful at the time. And we have the privilege of hindsight to sit and ponder. I’ve grown to really enjoy cultural context because it makes the passage become very rich and meaningful. (And I’ve accumulated an excess of biblical resources over the last 25 years :grimacing: which never seem to go out of use because of the complexity of the subject!)

On the topic of the fig tree, Warren Wiersbe comments in his Bible Exposition Commentary, New Testament Volume 1, pg. 77:

The fig tree symbolized the nation of Israel. (Jer. 8:13, Hosea 9:10,16, Luke 13:6-9) Just as the tree had leaves but no fruit, so Israel had a show of religion but no practical experience of faith resulting in godly living. Jesus was not angry at the tree, but used it to teach several lessons to His disciples.
God wants to produce fruit in the lives of His people. The presence of leaves usually indicates the presence of fruit, but this was not the case. In the Parable of the Fig Tree (Luke) the gardener was given more time to care or the tree; but now the time was up. This tree was taking up space and doing no good.
But the main interpretation has to do with Israel. The time of judgment had come. The sentence was pronounced by the Judge, but it would not be executed for about 40 years when Rome would destroy Jerusalem and scatter the people.

Wiersbe even ties it in with the temple event (you saw this connection!) He says:

The temple was supposed to be a house of prayer, and the nation was supposed to be a believing people. But both of these essentials were missing.

I have to ask myself things about the incident(s) (there’s another one later) in the temple where He displays extreme anger.

I know that: Jesus’ responses are always meaningful.
What is it that brought Him to this state?

I know that the passage says “Zeal for your house will consume me.” Since the temple was to represent the Presence of God among the nation of Israel, that space was to be considered sacred, revered and holy. The money changers, livestock sales, currency converters, etc. were turning a sacred space into an international farmer’s market. On top of that they were practically scalpers offering goods at extremely inflated prices and exchange rates. So travelers from distances were being way overcharged in their efforts to observe their Passover offerings. Jesus saw fraud, greed, pride, and complete lack of reverence for God’s Person. He saw Jews taking advantage of Jews, and using their positions in opposition to the scripture.
I looked up “zeal” in my word reference and the version of zeal used here is the Greek “zelos” which is synonymous with: raging, enthusiasm, concern, envy. God’s jealousy and envy is always justified because all things belong to Him, created for Him, by Him (Colossians 1:15-20)

I know that: Jesus lived a sinless life completely dedicated to God’s will and glory.
How is Jesus’ anger an exhibition of His perfection and God’s glory?

He would be perfect Judge, and His judgments justified. God incarnate is duly furious with His house of prayer being turned into a den of robbers (Matthew 21:13). His anger is directed at the eradication and cleansing of sin and the things that distract from the worship of God. He is productive in this at all points of His ministry. Sometimes He’s gentle eradicating sin (like the woman who was to be stoned) and sometimes He makes a whip of cords and chases the lot out.

I know that: His anger is supposed to teach me something about Him and His desire for the lifelong refining process believers experience through His fellowship.
What makes me angry? Is it self-centered or God centered? How will I display it?

Well I would need to ask myself that everyday. And sometime there needs to be big response and sometimes gentle. Praying through the situation is key. He is faithful to answer our pleas for wisdom and godliness. I sometimes think there are some things that should make me much angrier that they do.

2 Likes

Hi, April <3 Thank you for that wonderful answer! I knew there was something important to understand about the fig tree but every time I come across my mind kind of stumbles. I really appreciate your taking time to break down all these points, and to bring it back to the personal reflection too. Jesus’ anger was always righteous. I can’t say that mine is.

1 Like

@tdw

TDW - I’m with you! But so grateful He is also always forgiving, long-suffering, patience, merciful… Well, you get the point. lol

Great question. Often have looked at that parable and scratched my head as well.

@BloomHere Thank you, April for your feedback!!

2 Likes