Cleansing The Temple

Continuing on with Holy Week, I thought I’d take a look each day at what Jesus was doing during the week leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection.  I’ll use this chronology as a guide as it seems like as good an estimation as any (and it happens to agree for the most part with the handout I got in my adult Sunday school class).

So on Monday Jesus cursed the fig tree (representing the unfruitful nation of Israel) and cleansed the Temple.

I’ll focus on the Temple because it shows one of the few times when Jesus simply pops off on the people defiling the Temple and shows us an aggressive “righteous anger” side to his personality.

Even though he was turning over tables and blocking the merchants from entering the Temple, he found the presence of mind to quote scripture (see a theme here?). From Mark 11:15-19

And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL THE NATIONS ‘? But you have made it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”

Here’s the first reference (Ish 56:7)

For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

Here’s the next (Jer 7:11)

“Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I, even I, have seen it,” declares the LORD.

The Jeremiah text is meant to cut them to the core.  The Jews in the Temple would have known that reference and the implication that they had fallen from the Lord’s favor much like people of Jeremiah’s time (who, among other things, were offering burnt offerings to the false god Baal).

So I suppose the underlying message here is to know your scripture so that you don’t make the same mistakes that those in the past have made.


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