Sick of Religion? Week 8: Devotional Day 1
DAY 1 – Monday
Mark 11:15-19, Malachi 3:1-4, Zechariah 14:21
Consider how this incidence is a fulfillment of Mal 3:1-4 and Zech 14:21. In what way does Jesus “purify” the temple?
When we come to this point in Jesus’s ministry, we see that he had already made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, (Mark 11:1-11) and had already been to the temple. In verse eleven, we read, “And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.” It is only when he returns to the temple the next day that we see him act: he drives out the buyers and the sellers, he overturns tables and chairs, and he halts the movement of those carrying things through the temple.
All of these things that Jesus cleared from the temple related to the sacrificial system God had set in place for his people to be forgiven, albeit temporarily, of their sins. In the context of Malachi, we learn that God’s people were treating each other deplorably, and “robbing God” of the tithes they were to be contributing to the temple. The Zechariah passage speaks of a day when God will purify the pots meant for boiling the meat of the sacrifice, which is offered to the priest in the temple. How do you think this relates to what Jesus saw?
We get the sense that Jesus is quite angry, and that can be confirmed by a parallel passage in John 2:13-17, where it is written that Jesus used a “whip of cords” to drive them out. One can only wonder what had gone through Jesus mind, the night before, when he took it all in and “as it was already late, he went out to Bethany….” Was he calculating his response? At the late hour, had trading ceased for the day, and the stalls closed down? Whatever the reason, when Jesus returned, he took dramatic measures to clear the temple.
Consider Jesus’s anger in this situation. Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, yet do not sin.” How did Jesus exemplify this principle? In what ways can we keep ourselves pure in a house of prayer?