Afterimages Left By Jesus
September 5, 2021
Jesus spent most of His 3 years of active ministry preaching, teaching and healing. At times He used visuals as a means to communicate deep truths. The images and corresponding message Jesus intended were often missed or misunderstood, and those who had “ears to hear” were the ones the got the message. In Mark 11:1-25 Jesus gives us 3 important visual images, these being 1) of His ministry, 2) of the spiritual climate and 3) of disciples who are abiding in Him.
Image 1 – Jesus being led by a Donkey
Jesus being led by a donkey was the way Jesus wanted people to view His ministry. Donkeys are notoriously stubborn animals. First, Jesus’ entry on a donkey communicated His willingness to be led to the cross by stubborn and wayward humanity. Secondly, this type of entry also communicated the extent to which He would go to declare His love for the Father.
Jesus’ entry on a donkey was a fulfillment of the prophesies spoken of in Zech. 9:9, Psa. 118:25, and Ez. 37:25.
Image 2 – Barren Trees
Jesus viewed the spiritual climate in the temple at Jerusalem as a barren tree, meaning a tree full of leaves but no fruit. From a distance, it gave the appearance of fruitfulness, but upon close inspection, it couldn’t deliver life, only religious activity. Jesus declares that His Father’s house was to be a house of prayer (Isa. 56:7-8), to which the nations could be blessed. Yet what was experienced there was anything but life-giving. The original purpose of communication with God was abandoned, which gave room for the full expression of commercial activity.
Image 3 – Fruitfulness
Jesus viewed a distinctive fruitfulness as the mark of disciples who abide in Him. Disciples who abide are fruit-bearing organisms. This image stands at a stark contrast to the barren religious activity that pervaded the temple. In particular, Jesus described the fruit of faith, the fruit of answered, and the fruit of forgiveness. All these are byproducts of the disciple’s abiding in Jesus.
Reflection & Response
How do each of these images resonate with our hearts? What does meditation on these images evoke? How may Jesus leading you to respond in light of these images?
Image 1: Jesus’ entry on a donkey communicates the ultimate depth of humility, and the depth of love Jesus had for the Father to endure the path to the cross. May our hearts fall in worship before Jesus.
Image 2: Empty religion is like a fruitless tree. From a distance it gives the appearance of hope, but in the end, fails to deliver. May our hope be found in Jesus, and Him alone.
Image 3: A distinctive fruitfulness characterizes the disciple who abides in Jesus. This type of fruit doesn’t come about by our own doing. May we continually find our abode in Jesus.