Summary: On the final week before the crucifixion Jesus came to the temple and cleared those who were turning the place into a wicked market and bank. Does He have permission to enter into the temple of our spirits and do the same thing?
Cleansing The Temple
Please stand with me as we go over our current memory Scripture:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
And our memory Scripture “refresher” verse is:
“At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another.
“But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.”
Today we will be reading from Mark 11:1-18
Try to imagine Jesus at the temple in Jerusalem at least thirty times before He started His three year ministry.
His first visit to the Temple was at the age of 40 days when He was consecrated to the Lord. (I wonder if He remembered that visit!)
Later, in Luke 2, we see that it was the custom for Joseph and Mary to take the family to Jerusalem for the Passover Festival every year. So, we see that Jesus had a lot of exposure to the Temple long before His thirtieth year and many times after that.
Now … have you ever seen or heard of something going on that was just plain wrong? You knew it was wrong and the people doing it knew it was wrong but the time was not right for you to do something about it.
This is how Jesus must felt on His first visit to the Temple in what would be the last week of His ministry before becoming the Perfect Sacrifice.
Let’s read about it in … Mark 11:1-18
(Prayer for help)
Now, let’s look at two of the verses we just read.
Mark 11:11 where it says,
“Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple courts. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.”
And Mark 11:15-16 where it says that Jesus went back to Jerusalem the following morning,
“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, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.”
Now just imagine the fire that was burning in the heart of Jesus that night in Bethany! For thirty-three years He had witnessed the travesty of what was taking place in the Temple of Yahweh the Lord! And, what He saw that night must have just burned in His heart and exploded the next day!
Jesus took control of His Father’s House and at least for one day the activities of evil were thrown outside where they belonged!
What was Yahweh, the Lord’s, intention for the Temple in Jerusalem? I mean, what was His original intention?
The Temple was to be His dwelling place on earth! From that Temple His presence was to spread out to fill the earth.
His presence would fill the city of Jerusalem.
His over-watching presence would fill the land through the love-driven obedience of His people.
His presence would spread throughout the earth because the surrounding countries would see Yahweh’s great care for His people.
How was that to happen?
Imagine if you would, the nation of Israel living in a love-driven obedience to Yahweh their God and imagine the whole world observing the blessings of that relationship between their God and His people.
Imagine the nations of the earth observing this oddity ...
1) A nation with no significant army. Yahweh, the Lord, commanded them NOT to gather a great number of horses and chariots. Horses and chariots were kind of like the tanks or light armor vehicles of their day. They were swift, could carry more weapons and afforded some protection. If you were going to have an adequate protection for your nation you needed horses and chariots.
Why did Yahweh, the Lord, forbid them to have vast numbers of horses and chariots? Because He was to be their Protector.
Throughout the Old Testament you can see times when the nation of Israel was vastly outnumbered and when they relied on the Lord alone He saved them.
Now, imagine if the Israelites were faithful to Yahweh, the Lord, and every time an army came against them the Lord destroyed the attacking army. It wouldn’t be long before nations would stop trying to attack them.
The nations would be saying, “Their God is too great. Our gods are pitiful compared to Yahweh. Why should they be the only ones with Yahweh as their God? Let’s send an envoy to find out to see if He can be our God as well!”