Religion is using a god to worship yourself. God never wanted man to have religion. He wants man to have a relationship with Himself.
It’s Monday of Passion Week. Yesterday Jesus came down the streets of Jerusalem as a celebrated king. Today Jesus is going to expose the religious system of Jerusalem and also the hearts of its people.
The state of the temple had changed. It was no longer the place God created it to be. God created the temple to be a light to all nations and a building to point forward to God’s coming promise. It had become a place where religion was both convenient and profitable. In the temple men had created a system where one could purchase and sacrifice in a fast food efficient model.
God never intended for sacrifice to be easy. God’s intent for sacrifice is that the one sacrificing would know the cost of the sacrifice so that eventually they could understand what God would do in Jesus Christ. What Jesus found when He walked into the temple was a place where one could buy their sacrifice. Men had taken a place that should have pointed all men to Jesus and turned it into a money making house of religion.
It is on Monday that Jesus gave the harshest indictment of his own people. On the same day that he turned tables over in the temple ruining their money making schemes, he also compared his own nation to a barren tree. It is on Monday that Jesus looks at a tree and tells it “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” Jesus’s point is simple — if you look like a tree, smell like a tree but produce no fruit, then you are simply a bad forgery.
There are many men today who look like they trust God, sound like they trust God, yet produce no fruit from God’s Spirit. Men who produce no fruit are bad forgeries and fall under the condemnation of Jesus’s curse.
Monday was the day where Jesus threw down the gauntlet. It is on this day that Jesus called religion for what it was — an empty system that left men dead.
Jesus was looking forward to giving His life so that other men might have new life.