Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mark Chapter 11

What would Jesus be like if he were an action hero? We get a glimpse of that in Mark chapter 11, as Jesus begins his final week before the Crucifixion. We see him as he enters the city of Jerusalem like a boxer before legions of His adoring fans. He also comes through immediately by going to the temple and clearing it out of money changers and people selling doves for sacrifices. If this were a movie, there would surely be a dramatic speech as Jesus shows a rare moment of righteous anger.

15On 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, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And 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.'" – Mark 11:15-17

Jesus was more than justified in His rage at this moment. How would you feel if you were in His shoes? Salvation and everlasting life is meant to be a free gift. This is even more true with the sacrifice Christ was about to make. Even under Mosaic law with its system of sacrifices, it was still meant to be free. Those in the temple had perverted the process by charging for the doves used in said sacrifices. Not only that, they were doing it in God’s house, directly flying in the face of the Creator they claimed to love. To Jesus, this was a perversion of the highest order, and more so because He was fully God as well as fully man. It is no wonder He did not stand for it.

27They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him. 28"By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you authority to do this?"
29Jesus replied, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 30John's baptism—was it from heaven, or from men? Tell me!"
31They discussed it among themselves and said, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask, 'Then why didn't you believe him?' 32But if we say, 'From men'...." (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.)
33So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things." – Mark 11:27-33

Here the Pharisees had one last chance to understand Christ’s message, and they failed miserably. This shows that sometimes the worst thing you can do is nothing at all. They were asked a simple question, and all they needed to do was answer. Christ didn’t even specify if they needed to answer correctly or not. He merely asked for them to answer. Out of fear, they did not. They feared the people or they feared Him asking another question because it would have given recognition to His power. If they gave recognition to Christ’s power, that would threaten the power the Pharisees held. As a result, they failed one final time.

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