Have you ever got somewhat dissallusioned with the seemingly excessive branding and merchandising of Christian ministries? I wonder what would the Lord make of the branding and clever merhandising programmes in some of our churches and ministries?
This passage (Mark 11:20-25) is full of prophetic imagery and pictures as it refers the state of the Jewish leadership in the temple in Jerusalem.
Why did Jesus curse a perfectly good fig tree even though it wasn’t yet ready to bear fruit!?! Jesus was hungry and wanted something to eat – but for this time, it was useless so Jesus cursed it. Seems harsh on that poor fig tree eh? but let’s look at the bigger picture what Mark in this gospel desires to communicate.
Now move to the temple. What is the purpose for the temple – the House of the Lord? v17: Jesus quotes from Jer. 7:11 “My House will be a house of prayer for all the nations”
But what was happening instead? Merchandise was beng sold, the temple courts were being used to make money and certainy was not being used to bear fruit for God’s intended purpose – that people from all nations would genuinely come and know the living God!
Consequently, it’s a propetic picture: NOW whithered the fig tree all dried up! If something no longer bears fruit then it is thrown into the fire (see also the vine and the branches in John 15)
Yet, the Lord encourages us next (v20ff) to really know our authority through prayer as we touch Father’s heart! The Message translation put’s it “Embrace the God-life” and you will realise fruit – lasting fruit!
In our churches are we more concerned with branding or merchandising than reaching the nations? Are we filling our worship centres with high tech so we look cool but in reality we’ve lost touch with God’s ultimate purpose for His house!
Branding and merchandiseing is not fruit!
How is the Lord over-turning our tables that we get back to his purpose, “…a house of prayer for all nations”?
Help me this day to embrace the God-life fully, not to be concerned with mere image but to press in and ask for your heart and what you want us to be in our town, community, Lord you’re not impressed with us trying to look cool, forgive us Lord. Instead Father help us to know you more fully and what is on your heart for our neigbourhood. That your house may make you famous for the things YOU are doing not because of our clever branding. In Jesus name, Amen.