Summary: God won't live in a dirty house. You may live in one, but God won't. He is holy and He can't abide with the presence of sin.
Last week I suggested some hymn titles for the chronologically challenged. This week someone emailed me a funny list of pop song titles for aging Baby Boomers. I realize anyone under the age of 40 probably won’t recognize any of these songs, so ask a Boomer who may be near you. Now for the first time, hear these songs famous from the 1960s and 1970s: First there’s Herman’s Hermits singing, “Mrs. Brown, You’ve got a lovely walker.” Next, hear the aging Beatles Paul and Ringo singing, “I get by with a little help from depends.” Don’t miss the Bee Gees singing, “How can you mend a broken hip?” And you’ve got to hear Paul Simon singing, “50 Ways to Lose your Liver.” And who can forget Helen Reddy singing, “I am Woman, hear me snore.” And the Scandinavian group Abba will have us rocking out to their new song, “Denture Queen.” And finally, Jerry Lee Lewis, who is 80 years old, has a new song entitled, “A whole lot of Aching going on!”
We’ve been studying the Gospel According to Mark for over a year and this is the 42nd message in the series. Mark only has sixteen chapters, and the last six chapters deal with the last week of the earthly life of Jesus. That means that almost 40% of the book is devoted to the events that lead to the cross and resurrection of Jesus.
In the last message we talked about the Passover Party Parade as Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cries of the people shouting, “Hosanna!”
Mark 11:11-19. “Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 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. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.”*
“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area 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. 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.’’ 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. When evening came, they went out of the city.”
*To be continued NEXT week
There are many paintings depicting this scene. One is by the Italian master Luca Giordano who portrayed Christ cleaning out the market areas. You can see a couple of Jewish leaders on the right side, the religious mafia, discussing how they need to kill Jesus.
Some people look at this scene and ask, “Did Jesus lose His temper and get angry? Isn’t it a sin to be angry?” This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment action. The evening before Jesus had witnessed the scene in the Temple courts, and He came back the next morning to do something about it. Jesus didn’t blow His stack. He was filled with a settled righteous indignation at the way these people were cheating those who came to worship. He decided God’s House needed a good cleaning. That’s what we’re going to talk about today. Keeping God’s House Clean. And of course, I’m not talking about this building. Let’s learn three things the Bible teaches about God’s House.
I. BEFORE THE CROSS GOD HAD A TEMPLE FOR HIS PEOPLE
God directed Moses to build a tabernacle in the wilderness He could meet the people in the process of worship. The tabernacle was a movable tent that wasn’t very large, about the size of a doublewide mobile home.
About three hundred years later David wanted to build a permanent Temple in Jerusalem to replace the portable tabernacle. David wasn’t allowed to build the Temple because he was a man of War. So he helped raise the funds so that his son, Solomon, could build a house for God. It was a magnificent building that took twenty years to build. It contained so much silver and gold that in today’s dollars, it would be worth approximately $200 trillion, roughly ten times more than our national debt.
On the day the Temple was dedicated, Solomon prayed, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built!...May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day...Hear the supplication of your servant and of your people Israel when they pray toward this place. Hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and when you hear, forgive.” (1 Kings 8:27, 29, 30)