Summary: Second in a 12 part series examining THE most important week in all of history: The Passion Week, when Jesus fulfilled Mark 10:45. Next up, The Servant Arrives: He Is Judge. We explore Jesus' Anger, The Crowd's Astonishment, & The Leader's Animosity.
The Passion Week of Christ: A Study from the Book of Mark
Week 2:The Servant Arrives - He Is Judge
A. Have you ever been part of a worship service where you heard someone say something along the lines of "God, we just invite you to come this AM, we invite you here God, show up and show out"? Here's what I wonder...I wonder how many people would REALLY want God to physically show up and inspect their church, His house?
B. Since the time of Malachi, the Jews had been anticipating such a visit to The Temple, God's House. But as I read earlier, it would not be a grand ole time. It would be a time of judgment and a time of purifying. Fast forward 500 years and its Spring 33 AD...the time of the Passover. Jesus, Immanuel, God with Us, God's Suffering Servant has arrived in Jerusalem. In just 5 short days, He will give His life as a ransom for many.
C. But today, Monday of The Passion Week, He Is Judge. As such He intends to pay a visit to inspect His Father's House, The Temple. And just as Malachi prophesied, He intends to purify it for it has become a despicable debauchery. As we examine this event in the life of Christ, we will see Jesus' Anger, The Crowd's Astonishment and The Leader's Animosity. In the process, we would do well to take a serious self-examination of our own church for 2000 years later, as James reminds us, "the Judge is standing at the door."
II. Scripture Reading & Prayer
A. Stand with me to honor the reading of God's Word. Read Mark 11:15-19.
B. Pray - Father, we know the time is short for the return of your Son to Judge the world. Help us clean up YOUR House and OUR lives in preparation for that day of unexpected and sudden visitation.
III. Context, Context, Context (Read and explain 15:a)
A. And they came to Jerusalem - Recall from last week that Jesus on Sunday had made His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem as King and then paid a visit to the temple at the end of the day. Having looked around and inspected everything, He and the Twelve had retired to Bethany. It is now Monday sometime and Jesus and the Twelve have made the 2 mile journey from Bethany to Jerusalem on foot.
B. Standing on the Mount of Olives, 2600 feet up overlooking the city, all eyes would have been on the Temple. It covered the top of Mount Zion, 35 acres in extent. In building it, Herod truly outdid himself. The Talmud says that the end-result was spectacular. "He who has not seen Herod's building, has never in his life seen a truly grand building." The Holy of Holies was covered in gold; the walls and columns of the other buildings were of white marble; the floors were of carrara marble, its blue tinge giving the impression of a moving sea of water; the curtains were tapestries of blue, white, scarlet and purple thread, depicting, according to Josephus, "the whole vista of the heavens." Josephus further describes how incredible it looked: "Viewed from without, the Sanctuary had everything that could amaze either mind or eyes." Outwardly beautiful, inwardly corrupt! And for this reason...
C. He entered the temple - John 2 records Jesus' 1st Cleansing of the Temple at the start of His ministry. It served as a warning, a warning to clean God's House of the 3 ring circus it had become. The changes obviously didn't last. So, He now enters the temple to cleanse it a second time. This time it would be as Judge to pronounce judgment on the leadership of Israel. The area Jesus has entered refers specifically to the Court of The Gentiles. It was a 6 acre area into which anyone, Jew or Gentile, might come. At the inner edge was a low wall with tablets set into it which proclaimed the death penalty for any Gentile who passed that point. The next court was the Court of the Women where they had to stop unless they had actually come to offer sacrifice. Next, was the Court of Israelites - in it the congregation gathered on special occasions to worship and from here the offerings were handed off by worshippers to the priests. The inmost court was The Court of the Priests and the inmost of it housed the Holy of Holies (High Priest & Day of Atonement).
D. The Court of The Gentiles was to be a place of prayer into which people of all nations might enter and worship the One True God. Yet as John MacArthur notes, it was "carnal chaos." I liken it to a three-ring circus. Picture 1/2 flea market, 1/2 auction, 1/2 barnyard with some IRS taxation and Congressional oversight sprinkled in. No matter what you call it, it was not as God intended and what Jesus saw that Monday made Him quite angry.