Building on the Ruins of Religion – Part 1 of 5

shutterstock_112086005Nowhere else does Jesus react more fervently than when He goes to Jerusalem to observe Passover during His first and last year of ministry. John’s account of Jesus’ first cleansing of the Temple (See John 2:13-21) is not unlike those in Matthew 21, Mark 11, and Luke 19, which describe the same sort of event happening right before Jesus’ crucifixion. Each of these episodes portrays Jesus, who upon entering this building dedicated and devoted to the service of God, becomes infuriated with what He saw. They describe Him focusing on the court of the Gentiles, where He found the Temple’s ministers using that consecrated area for their own gain. Never before had Jesus shown so much anger. But on that day, He was enraged! Some may wonder why He showed such resentment. One reason may have been because their business was blocking access to the gentile area of the Temple; another that those who sold doves were making dishonest profits on an offering earmarked especially for the poor. But more than any either of these is the fact that these ministers’ self-serving ways were taking precedence over their duty to help other men obtain the relationship God offered them. This is why as Jesus ran these men out, He scolded them and said, “My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:15)

Why did Jesus ask this as a question? Because this is what they were supposed to be using the Temple area for; but Jesus saying that “prayer for all nations” was to be the main focus of the Temple, showed the robbery He was angry about was not caused by money taken, but because men were forgotten.

I feel such selfishness is why Jesus warned His ministers of the following:

(PLEASE NOTE: any Bolds, UPPERCASES, Underlines, or [bracketed area comments] are added by me.)

Mark 9:39-42
(39)  But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.
(40)  For he that is not against us is on our part.
(41)  For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.
(42)  And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Luke 17:1-2
(1)  Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offenses will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
(2)  It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Although Jesus throwing these men out of the Temple took place almost 2,000 years ago, there really is nothing new under the sun; even today, some preachers are prone to view buildings or ministries as icons of their achievements and opportunities for personal gain. This they similarly do rather than focusing on the men to which they as God-called ministers should be serving. Now, I am not suggesting those at the Temple during Jesus’ time and those who minister in church pulpits today are cut from exactly the same pattern; but the motivating force that uses such edifices to further one’s import or prestige while ignoring the spiritual needs of others, originates from the same source.

Part 2 of 5


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