Cutting The Branch Brings More Fruit
INTERESTING FACTS : ROBERT E. LEE, Confederate general, commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, the most successful of the Southern armies during the American Civil War (1861-65). In February 1865 he was given command of all the Southern armies. His surrender at Appomattox Courthouse April 9, 1865, is commonly viewed as signifying the end of the Civil War.
"I am of the opinion that all who can should vote for the most intelligent, honest, and conscientious men eligible to office, irrespective of former party opinions, who will endeavour to make the new constitutions and the laws passed under them as beneficial as possible to the true interests, prosperity, and liberty of all classes and conditions of the people."
Daily Reading : MATTHEW 20 - 21
TEXT : Mat 21:12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, Mat 21:13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. Mat 21:14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
THEME : THE CHURCH
The similitude of the householder hiring laborers into his vineyard, to show that the Gentiles should be preferred to the Jews, according to what was hinted at the close of the last chapter, vv. 1-16. On the way going up to Jerusalem he predicts his sufferings and death, Mat_20:17-19. The mother of Zebedee's children requests dignities for her sons, Mat_20:20, Mat_20:21. Christ, by his answer, shows that sufferings, not worldly honors, are to be the lot of his most faithful followers, and that seats in glory can be given only to those who are prepared for them, Mat_20:22, Mat_20:23. From this our Lord takes occasion to teach the necessity of humility, and to show that those who wished to be chief must be servants of all, Mat_20:24-28. On his coming to Jericho, he restores sight to two blind men, who, being restored, follow him, Mat_20:29-34. [Adam Clarke]
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are the two main hinges upon which the door of salvation turns. He came into the world on purpose to give his life a ransom; so he had lately said, ch. 20, 28. And therefore the history of his sufferings, even unto death, and his rising again, is more particularly recorded by all the evangelists than any other part of his story; and to that this evangelist now hastens apace. For at this chapter begins that which is called the passion-week. He had said to his disciples more than once, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and there the Son of man must be betrayed. A great deal of good work he did by the way, and now at length he is come up to Jerusalem; and here we have, I. The public entry which he made into Jerusalem, upon the first day of the passion-week (Mat_21:1-11). II. The authority he exercised there, in cleansing the temple, and driving out of it the buyers and sellers (Mat_21:12-16). III. The barren fig-tree, and his discourse with his disciples thereupon (Mat_21:17-22). IV. His justifying his own authority, by appealing to the baptism of John (Mat_21:23-27). V. His shaming the infidelity and obstinacy of the chief priests and elders, with the repentance of the publicans, illustrated by the parable of the two sons (Mat_21:29-32). VI. His reading the doom of the Jewish church for its unfruitfulness, in the parable of the vineyard let out to unthankful husbandmen (Mat_21:33-46). [Matthew Henry]
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "CUTTING THE BRANCH BRINGS MORE FRUIT."
It is an established fact that a new broom sweeps clean. Today, we could use such a broom in the Church. Even the dullest intellect can observe that the Church as a whole is at an all-time low. It does not matter what denomination you look at, there is a great falling away from the faith now in progress. If it is not gimmicks, games, or some type of unusual antics going on than it is adultery, specious doctrine, and every sort of evil. Surely, the LORD is at the door.
Here in Matthew chapter 21 Jesus "cleanses" the Temple at Jerusalem. Notice if you will, how angry Jesus is at those who worked in the Temple. It was permissible to sell animals for Temple services and sacrifices. However, these men had no interest, or at least little interest, in keeping the Laws of God. They were more interested in making money. Certainly, a large profit could be made from visiting Jews coming from other parts of the world that needed the services of the merchant men. Yet, there is a difference between being a merchant and making merchandise of God's people.
The Apostle Peter wrote that the days would, when false teachers in the Church would make merchandise of the average Christian. We read -
2Pe 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 2Pe 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
Those days predicted by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter are now upon us. There are merchantmen among us who use the Christian Church as a place of business to make money just as the men whom Jesus threw out of the temple did. This is why we need a new broom today. We need another Great Awakening in America as we had in the 18th and 19th centuries. This is the new broom we need.
Jesus comes into the Temple, and angrily throws out these merchantmen who under the supervision of the Jewish leaders were permitted to sin against God. It may surprise you that Jesus would act this way. However, when you study the Bible you will see that God is frequently angry with His people. The reason is He, that is, the LORD, wants a love of Him and of your fellow brother to be pure. This is the reason why Jesus comes into the Temple with such vehemence.
If you look carefully, notice that Jesus heals the sick just after removing off the merchantmen. The sick, weak, and infirm were in the Temple for years. Yet, they lay their in their sickness and disease is without being healed. It was not until Jesus cleared the Temple of the sinfulness of man that the sick were healed and delivered from their destructions. This has always been the case - men prevent others from gaining access to God. Still, God is good. Jesus comes and cleans the Temple of its wickedness, evil, and gross sin. Once that is accomplished, those who had wanted God and certainly needed God were able to touch Him. More accurately, He was able to touch them.
You should pray that God would once again cleanse the Temple. Remember, Jesus taught that every branch that is in Him that bears fruit would be pruned so it can bear more fruit. However, Jesus also said that every branch that does not bear fruit He would take away. This is what we need today. We need the LORD of the harvest to prune His vine that there will be the fruit of true righteousness and holiness. Once this happens, we will see the LORD work wonders on the behalf of those who like the sick, in the temple of Jerusalem, are waiting for real healing, deliverance, and salvation. Like the Gentiles that came to the Apostles people today are saying - "we would see Jesus."
Joh 12:20 And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: Joh 12:21 The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
The people of the world - sick and dying, do not need to be made merchandise by unscrupulous leaders, false teachers, and false prophets. They need Jesus, and they want Jesus. This is why we need the LORD to cleanse his Temple once again. Perhaps through your prayers, the LORD will be merciful and send another cleansing of the Temple. If He does, America has hope, because clutching the branch brings more fruit. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
-  Brittanica, Encyclopedia. Encylopedia Brittanica Deluxe Edition. 2011.
-  Robert E. Lee, letter to General James Longstreet, October 29, 1867.—Recollections and Letters of General Robert E. Lee, p. 269 (1924).
-  Adam Clarke LL.D., F.S.A. Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible. Public Domain, 1715 - 1832.
-  Henry, Matthew. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. Public Domain, [1662 - 1714].