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 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, 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, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city. (Mark 11:12-19, New International Version)
Theme: Rejoicing and Thanksgiving
This final week of our journey has been a special time over the years as we meditate on the activities of Jesus during the week of his death and resurrection. A source of rejoicing and thanksgiving is the wisdom in Jesus’ words and actions. When we consider the vital lessons Jesus teaches, we can’t help but say, “hallelujah, what a savior!” So, this year we will focus on selected lessons Jesus taught from Monday through Friday of Passion Week.
Monday’s lesson is taken from Jesus’ encounter with the money changers in the temple, and relates to purpose. Based on the passages Jesus references in his rebuke of the money changers, it appears that He was highlighting the negative impact the money changers were having on Gentile worshippers. The money changers were, in essence, working against God’s purpose. It is evident that Jesus was very upset about this.
It is easy to be critical of the money changers, but we should be self-critical to ensure that we do not oppose or distort God’s purpose in order to satisfy commercial, political, or other interests. Jesus teaches us not to make this mistake.
Please study the passage above. If you have the time, consider reviewing the two passages Jesus references when he mentions “a house of prayers for all nations,” and “a den of robbers”: Isaiah 56:6-7 and Jeremiah 7:9-11. Please note how Jesus used Scripture to establish what God’s purpose was in the matter of worship at the temple.
What personal lessons do you take from Jesus’ defense of His father’s purpose?
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