April 15, 2019


Devotions written by Missy Iley

2 Corinthians 5:21; Mark 11:12-19

The doctrine of penal substitution (punishment for sin) involves a prescribed process which enables the complete restoration of mankind’s relationship with God by making a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. God initiated this principle after the fall of man in Genesis 3:21 when God killed an animal to cover Adam’s and Eve’s nakedness. God then further specified the process when Moses delivered the Law to the Israelites in the Old Testament. Under the old Covenant, the substitutions had to be done on a repetitive basis. Under the new Covenant, Jesus Christ became the ultimate substitution for our sins.

Over the next seven days, as we remember the most significant week in all of human history, our focus will be on the doctrine of penal substitution through the lens of Mark’s day-by-day account of the Passion Week.

On Monday, “the next day” after Palm Sunday, Mark serves up an unusual fig tree sandwich: 

  • The Fig Tree: 11:12-14
  • Jesus Drives Money Changers from the Temple: 11:15-19
  • The Fig Tree: 11:20-21 (on Wednesday morning)

By sandwiching Jesus’ condemnation of the fig tree around the cleansing of the temple, Jesus is addressing the spiritually-bankrupt condition of the nation of Israel and their fruitless state which could only be remedied through radical change.

According to Major League Baseball rules: “Teams are permitted to substitute players any time the ball is dead. The manager must immediately notify the umpire before the substitution is made.” Jesus’ cleansing of the temple served as his notification to the world that a “substitution” was coming. This substitution meant that God’s presence would be permanently moved from the heart of the temple (the Holy of Holies) to the heart of anyone who confesses Jesus is Lord and believes God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9). Paul confirms this “change of address” in 1 Corinthians 3:16: “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” (NASB).