Today we look at one of the more well know passages in the Bible, Mark 11:15-19, where Jesus cleanses the temple.
15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, “Is it not written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’?
But you have made it a den of robbers.”
18 And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. 19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
Ok, let’s unpack what is happening here. In the Old Testament there were prescribed offerings to made for sin. But, most people, even back then, didn’t have sheep in their backyard. So, shepherds and others would bring the sheep, the bulls, the sparrows, all the things prescribed for offerings to the Temple where they could be sold.
Ok, that sounds simple enough. But here’s the thing. The Temple treasury wouldn’t accept Roman money, because it had Ceaser on it, and he claimed to be divine. So, before you purchase your bull or goat or sparrow, you had to exchange your Roman money for Temple money that you could then use to buy your animal for the sacrifice.
And of course, these “money changers” would gouge the people coming to worship.
And that’s the thing that angered, yes, angered Jesus. Here were people that were coming to worship, and everyone was standing in their way. Everyone was profiting off of them. The people that God had sent to them to be a means by which they could worship and experience God these individuals were only using the people as a means to gain themselves.
And this really did make Jesus mad. One of the many things He did was that He welcomed people in, over and over again. And here are those that should be helping others worship, instead they are making it hard and just using folks.
And so Jesus hits the reset button.
Jesus cleans it all out.
Because people matter most. That’s what Jesus is saying. That’s why Jesus is doing. That’s what Jesus is trying communicate.
Today, let’s work to help people know Jesus. Let’s show grace, let’s show mercy, let’s open doors, let’s be difference makers.
Let’s pull folks in, not push folks away.
Tuesday we’ll look at Mark 11:20-33.
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