Jesus at the Temple

“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’[c]? 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.” 

--Mark 11:15-19

The sun rises in Bethany, the small village on the southeastern slope of the Mount of Olives, just a mile and a half east of Jerusalem. It is Monday morning, and Jesus of Nazareth is staying in the home of his friends Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

Just yesterday, Jesus rode into town on a humble donkey, receiving the welcome parade of a king... of THE KING. But Jesus’ kingdom was not going to be the type of kingdom they thought it was going to be. Jesus knew the heart of man. He knew the acclaim of the disciples and the crowd was built on a messiah of their own imagination. They were excited about a national savior who would overthrow the despised Romans once and for all. They had no idea that Jesus’ kingdom meant that he was going to save them by bearing God’s judgment of sins on their behalf and conquering death once and for all.

When Jesus entered the Temple Mount later that day, he was surrounded by pious Jews who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Passover. As Jesus looked at the moneychangers and merchants, and watched the Jews tax people for their temple worship- a holy zeal and righteous indignation welled up within him. They were turning his Father’s house of prayer into a den of thieves to prey upon the poor Passover pilgrims.

This was unacceptable, and Jesus was not about to allow this sort of disgrace in His Father’s house. Jesus began overturning the tables and chairs of the moneychangers, throwing out the merchants and their scurrying customers.

From the perspective of the chief priests, it was one thing for this teacher from the backwaters of Nazareth to share his stories and make his claims and do his little miracles with his followers.
But now he was messing with them directly—inside the Holy City—he was on THEIR turf. More so, he was disrupting their services, and accusing them of misleading and taking advantage of God’s people. This guy was more than a nuisance, he was a real problem. One that must be dealt with.
Paul writes this later in Hebrews 10:4-10 and maybe gives us perspective on what may have been going through Jesus’ mind at times like this:

For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me; in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’” When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of fthe body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Jesus knew that it was a heart attitude that the Father desired from his people over and above the sacrifices of the temple. It wasn’t a business exchange or a way to take advantage of other people. For us the challenge is to ask God to help come to Him with a humble heart when we come to him in the act of worship through the giving of our tithes and offerings, acknowledging that our blessedness come first and foremost from Him. “A broken and contrite heart, O LORD, you will not despise.”

For me, God often brings me to the words of a worship song. In this case, it causes me to think of the words to the song Heart of Worship by Matt Redman:

“When the music fades, all is stripped away and I simply come—Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless Your heart—I’ll bring you more than a song, for a song in itself is not what you have desired—You search much deeper within, through the way things appear ,You’re looking into my heart—I’m coming back to the heart of worship, where it’s all about You, it’s all about You Jesus. I’m sorry Lord for the “thing” I’ve made it, when it’s all about YOU, it’s all about YOU, Jesus.”

Let’s ask God to make our acts of giving come from a place of surrender in our hearts rather than a sense of duty or accomplishing a task. Let’s make it an act of worship to the ONE who suffered, offered up and sacrificed everything for us.

-Pastor Jason

1 Comment

Michele - March 31st, 2021 at 8:26am

‘When the music fades, all is stripped away and I simply come...’ ❣️ Thank You!!