Not So Gentle Jesus
Pray for God to bring justice and righteousness throughout the world. Praise the Lord that he upholds them.
Read Mark 11:12-19
 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.  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.  Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.  On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts 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,  and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts.  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.'”  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.  When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
ReflectWhat so angered Jesus in this episode?
The two events here show a different side of Jesus’ character. Today we’ll focus on just one of them. Mark sandwiched events together so that one explained the other. Today we have one slice of bread (12-14) and the filling (15-19). The final slice comes later. Today we’ll concentrate on the filling and look at the bread tomorrow! The Temple in Jerusalem is central to these readings. Jesus has looked around it (11), but now he returns (15). What was the problem? Worshipers needed to buy sacrifices, a trade that had happened on the Mount of Olives for many years. In 30 AD, however, the Temple authorities allowed trading to take place in the Court of the Gentiles. The demands of business clearly outweighed those of worship. It’s no wonder Jesus was angry. Where can we see that kind of tension today? This episode could be seen as a prophetic protest: Jesus asserting his authority over the Temple. Even more, by quoting from the prophets (17; see Isa. 56:7; Jer. 7:11), Jesus could be seen as prophesying its impending destruction. It’s no wonder the authorities were disturbed (18).
Pray and ask God to show you any activities in your church which are getting in the way of true worship.
Lord Jesus, I want my worship and that of my church, only and always, to please and honor You.
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