The last time Jesus rode into Nazareth, he did so with the aplomb of a King. He had reached the conclusion of his ministry, celebrated by ringing voices “Hosanna to the son of David: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest. At the pinnacle of his ministry, he entered the temple and trashed all those merchants buying and selling saying, “It is written: ‘My house shall be a house of prayer’ but you are making it a den of thieves” Then he healed the sick and lame and irritated pretty much everybody who had any status whatsoever. He even withered a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit and cursed it to never bear fruit again…and when asked how the tree withered immediately, he said something that has become one of my very favorite phrases EVER: “Amen I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain: ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’ it will be done. Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith you will receive” BOOYAH!
So who do you think our modern money lenders are? Here’s my take…Anyone who acts under the auspices of faith and uses it to gain advantage or influence. You and I both know who those kind of people are. Here’s the thing. At that moment, riding into Jerusalem, Jesus could have used his new-found adulation from the people to do pretty much anything he wanted. But instead, he upset the apple cart and made it very clear what needed to be done was challenge the status quo. They weren’t bearing fruit or building the kingdom, so they were done. Things were going to change. But he also let us know that we had the same power to make the changes he did…enough to move mountains. Anything asked in prayer with faith…and what people forget is that he instructed us how to pray as well. He said to pray in secret, don’t pray like the hypocrites so that everyone will see, do it in private where your Father who sees in secret will repay you. The bottom line? You can never fake out God. He knows our hearts. He knows the hearts of those who profit publicly on his name too. I guess I would rather move mountains than gain approval.
The buying and selling of influence under the auspices of faith is the barren fig tree that Jesus withered. If you are not bearing fruit from your faith, if you are not keeping the temple ground sacred, then you are done…just like the money lenders and those hypocrites who pray to be seen. All of us have at times had barren patches, I’m not really talking about that, but when you make a claim to be one who bears fruit in name only, and do nothing? Well, that is a whole different story. People of consequence, who really believe and have faith in prayer and do it secretly to the Father will move mountains.