There are a lot of television programming on the rich, famous and notables. These programs give a peak into their homes; their lifestyles and their hobbies. An equally successful program focus on the last few hours of a person’s life. This week I will follow the last week of Jesus here on earth. During Holy Week Jesus’ life and ministry culminated into His ultimate act of obedience. So what did Jesus do on Monday of Holy Week?
The gospel of Mark gives us a clue,
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 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. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
15 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, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 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.’”
18 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.
19 When evening came, they went out of the city.
Jerusalem was a bustling city. Even though it wasn’t on one of the major trade routes or close to an ocean giving access to traders, the city was like a beehive. One particular building gave Jerusalem its buzz. The temple. A colossal structure built by Herod the master builder was the center of the Jerusalem universe. Jews had to come to the city Jerusalem for three big feasts, Passover was one of them. During these feasts the pilgrims would pay their religious taxes. The wealthy people used the temple as a bank for their wealth. In other words the temple was like the center of the religious and economical world. Without the temple, Jerusalem would be a nothing town, a ghost town in the middle of nowhere.
God’s dream for the temple was radically different from the actual monstrosity it became. God dreamt that His temple would be a place where people would have intimate dialogue with Him. In Jesus’ time it was not so – the temple became a visual model of the haves and the have-nots. There were boundaries in the temple. Gentiles can only come to this point, women only to this one, men who are not priests to this point. The lame didn’t stand a chance. Archeologists dug up a sign in the temple that read,
No foreigner is to enter within the enclosure around the temple area. Whoever is caught will have himself to blame for his death which will follow. (Seeker sensitivity was not around)
In an act of immense courage Jesus speaks out against this system. With a powerful demonstration he defies the works of the power mongers of the day. He spoke out against the things that hinder God’s purposes.
To meditate on:
In what ways am I repeating the negative patterns of the temple in Jesus’ day?
How can we clean the church so that it can become a meeting place for God?
Jesus went into the temple and boldly drove out those that
bought and sold. And when all was cleared, there was nobody left but Jesus.
Observe this, for it is the same with us: when he is alone he is able to speak
in the temple of the soul.
If anyone else is speaking in the temple of your soul, Jesus will keep still,
as if he were not at home. And he is not at home wherever there are strange
guests – guests with whom the soul holds conversation, guests who are seeking to
bargain. If Jesus is to speak and be heard, the soul must be alone and quiet.