This Is My House

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mark 11:15-17 (NASB)
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And He entered the temple and began to cast out those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who were selling doves; 16 and He would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. 17 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."

All four Gospel writers share about Jesus cleansing the Temple. John records that Christ did this at the beginning of His ministry. Matthew, Mark and Luke records Him cleansing the temple at the end of His earthly ministry. Some think that these events are one and the same and that John got his chronology wrong. Others, myself included, believe these were actually two separate events. While there are several similarities in the narratives, there are some differences as well. They all state that this event took place at the beginning of Passover. Each evangelist writes about Jesus' wrath in overturning the tables and driving the moneychangers out of the temple. In John's account Jesus said, "Take these things away; stop making My Father's house a house of merchandise." Matthew, Mark and Luke write that Jesus said: "My house should be called a house of prayer for all nations. But you have made it a robbers den."
John writes about the religious elite asking for a sign and Jesus' response: "destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews said, "It took forty-six years to build this temple, and You will raise it up in three days?" John states that He was speaking of the temple of His body and after His resurrection, His disciples remembered what He said, and they believed the Scripture.
Matthew records healings taking place in the temple following this cleansing. The blind received their sight, the lame began to walk. Children, when seeing the power of God manifested in Christ, began giving praise. This moment was not lost on the religious leaders, and they asked Christ if He heard what they were saying?
Whether these are two separate events or one event recorded in various ways may be debated but should not be divisive. Our eternity does not hinge on one or the other viewpoint. However, there are some points to these narratives that I think we should seriously consider.
1. Jesus is angry when His house is used more for merchandising than it is for prayer. I remember hearing a sermon many hears ago by Vance Havner, concerning these narratives, in which he said : "What begins as a place of merchandise ends up as a den of thieves." We must remember that the original sin took place in heaven, where Lucifer began to merchandise in his gifts to become like God. Ezekiel 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence... 
2. Jesus is angry when His house is not opened to all people. "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? There were exclusive measures to keep Gentiles away from the temple. There were legal hoops that other nations had to 'jump through' in order to be somewhat accepted. Jesus never intended that His house be only for a select few. Any barrier that keeps people of different races, ethnicitys, or social standing from the Father's house is appalling to Christ.
3. Jesus is angry when religious practices take place over a vital relationship. The religious were more concerned with children praising God in the temple than they were with unscrupulous men 'ripping off' the parishioners in the outer courts. They were more concerned with the phrase 'destroy this temple' than they were that prayer, healings and praise were not a common occurrence in the Father's House.
I find it encouraging that Jesus declares the church to be "His House". I believe He is coming to His house to do some house cleaning. He will over turn and reveal what is presently hidden.  The results of this cleansing will be a release of the supernatural for healing and an overflowing praise - even from the children.
Jesus' coming may be disruptive at first, but the results of His cleansing His church will be wonderful. Therefore I pray "Even so, come Lord Jesus".