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Daily Devotional for August 21


August 21                                                          Mark 11:12-26

In this passage, Mark presents us with a face of Jesus with which
we are often neither familiar nor comfortable. This unfamiliar
face is that of an angry Jesus.

This passage begins with Jesus' cursing of the fig tree for not
bearing fruit. Mark takes special care to note that Jesus vents
his anger at this tree when figs are not in season. Even though
there can be no reasonable expectation for the tree to have
figs, Jesus is frustrated and angered and shows his feelings by
cursing the tree, which is later found to be withered.

Next, Jesus enters the Temple, discovering merchants and
money changers conducting their normal business. From these
merchants the worshippers bought the animal offerings
prescribed by law for sacrifice, and through these money
changers they exchanged their Roman coins, considered
ritually unclean, for Temple currency to be used in the offer-
ing. Jesus, angered by these practices, lashes out, overturning
tables and clearing the Temple of the buyers and sellers.

Within this passage, Jesus also says that if one has faith in God
one can do anything. The placing of this statement next to
these two stories about Jesus' anger suggests that the quality
of faith of which Jesus speaks is comparable to the experience
of anger: that when one is angry one sees distinctly that
something must be done immediately and that the conviction
of faith gives the believer a clear vision of what it is that must
be done. Such faith-filled conviction possesses the astonishing
power to move mountains in much the same way that the
astonishing power of Jesus' anger withered the fig tree.

The vitality of faith, then, should empower us with the same
urgent potency as does the emotional release we experience
in a flash of anger.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989

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