Wednesday, March 12, 2014

7th Day of Lent: Enacted parables

This post is part of a Lenten reading plan created to compliment the Lenten sermon series at Southland Baptist Church in San Angelo. You can follow that reading plan here.

Today’s reading: Isaiah 56:1-2

Key Verse: This is what the Lord says: “Maintain justice and do what is right, for my salvation is close at hand and my righteousness will soon be revealed" - Isaiah 56:1.

Jesus' cursing of the fig tree and his clearing of the Temple recall the actions and the message of the ancient prophets. Jesus has moved from verbally teaching us with parables to enacting them physically. This fits the pattern of the Hebrew prophets.

Ezekiel once shaved off his beard and his hair in thirds in order to deliver a message about God's coming judgment. Jeremiah once wore an ox's yoke around town in order to declare much the same thing. Hosea went so far as to marry a prostitute in order to deliver his message from God.  In every case, the drastic actions of the prophets served as an enacted parable for what God was up to in the world.

Jesus' message has been consistent throughout his ministry, "Repent. The Kingdom of God is at hand." By Monday morning, the reality of how Jesus would usher in his kingdom and its salvation loomed large in Jesus' life. The cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing of the temple shout out this same message in physical form. They do more than that. They prepare the reader of Mark's gospel for an even greater prophetic act to come. Jesus' whole life was about to become an enacted parable. For he, and not a goat or bull, would offer up his own life for the sins of the world.

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