12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. 15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” 18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. 19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. (Mark 11:12-19)
Theme: If not You, then Who?
Yesterday we examined the significance of Jesus declaring His identity during the triumphal entry. Today we will consider Jesus’ commitment to integrity. The Latin root of integrity is integer, meaning whole or complete and not divided. When our thoughts and actions are entirely consistent with our God-given purpose and identity we are living lives of integrity. Of course, Jesus epitomizes integrity, and Mark chapter 11 records two encounters that demonstrate the priority Jesus places on integrity.
In the first encounter, Jesus sees a fig tree with the kind of foliage that promised fruit even though it was not the season for figs. On close inspection, the tree didn’t live up to what the foliage promised. There were no figs and Jesus cursed the tree. In the second encounter, Jesus shows his displeasure with people in the temple who were distorting the purpose of God’s house and the purpose of God’s people. I find Jesus’ decision to confront the lack of integrity on the part of the people in the temple particularly interesting. Jesus had just experienced the adulation of the crowds shouting Hosanna. He could have just played it safe and not upset the apple cart. Many leaders would have been focused on maintaining a positive image (what do the polls say?). Jesus was focused on the harmony of life with God’s purpose and identity. He was focused on integrity. How about us? Are we more concerned about leaves (appearance) than fruit? Do we distort God’s purpose or abandon our identity for personal gain like participants in a “den of robbers”?
Please prayerfully read the passage above and answer the question below.
What are your reflections on Jesus’ commitment to integrity?