READ: Mark 11:1-26
THINK: People have a lot of misconceptions about Jesus. Some people "accept" Him based on these assumptions. But when they find that He does not fit their misguided perceptions, they are offended by Him and it becomes apparent that their faith was insincere and self-serving. But we do not have to speculate about Jesus or wonder what He's really like. He has revealed himself clearly through His written Word--the Bible. Within its pages we get an accurate and uncensored look at His passions and purposes. We see Him respond with both gentleness and severity. We witness His matchless mercy, but we also get a glimpse of His righteous judgment. Through it all, we see what matters most to Jesus and what should matter most to His followers.
RESPOND: How did the crowd feel about Jesus at this point and what did they expect of Him? (See 11:9 note.) In what ways were their impressions and expectations of Jesus accurate, and in what ways were they not accurate? What do Jesus' actions in the temple (vv. 15-17) tell us about His character, passions and mission? (See 11:15 note.) What are God's intentions for His places of worship? (See 11:17 note.) What's the significance of God's house being accessible "for all nations? In what ways must we ensure that our churches and ministries are open to all who desire to know and honor God? In regard to prayer, what does it mean to "have faith in God" and to "believe"? (See 11:22.) What conditions does God put on true faith, godly belief and answered prayers? (See 11:24 and 11:25 notes.)
PRAY: Ask Jesus to give you His passion for sincere worship and prayer. Ask Him to help you seize every opportunity to stretch your faith by trusting His methods and timing. Pray for a forgiving spirit toward those who offend you.
ACT: Have you in any way taken your church for granted or not shown proper respect for God's house? If so, ask God to forgive you. Then make a change to ensure that you never hinder anyone from worshiping or receiving from God anywhere you are involved in ministry. Also, make sure that you take full advantage of the opportunity for worship, prayer and service with other believers, and that you are genuine and sincere in all of these expressions.
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