Christ Jesus spent His early years being faithful to His chosen human family: “And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS’ ” (Luke 1:30–31); His name being Joshua (Yahshua, for He shall save His people from their sins). Christ would be faithful those thirty years, attending the Passovers in Jerusalem; revealing His continued faithfulness to His Father in heaven who sent Him. Christ understood His union with the Father, recorded when He was twelve, speaking to His parents who, seeking Him for three days and finding Him in the temple, He said, “Why did you seek me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Luke 2:49). To those at a city in Samaria, Christ referred to His union with the Father: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). Christ revealed His authority in a prayer to the Father that confirmed His work to be the salvation of many: “Father, the hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:1–3).
At the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, where Christ made the water into wine, it was recorded “This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him” (John 2:11). From Cana, Christ “went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples; and they continued there not many days” (2:12). From there Christ went to Jerusalem: “He did not stay long at Capernaum, because the Passover was at hand, and he must attend it at Jerusalem; for every thing is beautiful in its season” (M. Henry).
The Jewish Passover “was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.” Christ entered the temple and saw a scene that was pitiable to one who loved His people: for sitting there on the entrance were those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and changes of money.” When the church is seen as a building, or worse, as an organization which is controlled by the wisdom of man, the money makers become the norm. It is then forgotten that it is a congregation of people of whom Christ alone is King and Head. Christ had thought about the scene before Him: “And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changer’s money, and overthrew the tables; and said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.”
The temple is not a cold structure, but a house not made with the hands of man. David sang: “Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psa. 29:1–2); and then, seeing the wonder of God over His Creation, David continues: “The voice of the Lord makes the deer to calve, and discovers the forests: and in his temple does every one speak of his glory” (9). The Apostle Paul writes to the congregation at Corinth, understanding the temple to be God’s redeemed people; and a very precious people at that: “Know ye not the ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Cor. 3:16–17); “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people” (2 Cor. 6:16).
Paul teaches Timothy about those who are “supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:5–6). He further reminds us that “the love of money is the root of all evil; which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness” (6:10–11). Where is our heart, the heart of the congregation? Look to Christ by faith, with love towards God and one another, with the strength of meekness, which teaches us that we must rest all upon Him who truly loves us.
The gospel of Mark reveals more of Christ’s words concerning the temple: “Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But ye have made it a den of thieves” (Mk. 11:17). Not only were they selling their stuff at the temple, they sought to gain more by corrupt means. After Jesus had spoken and cast out the money changers, the “disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (referring to Psalm 69:9). The word ‘zeal’ in the Old and New Testaments refers to the term ‘jealousy.’ In other words, when someone thinks of something with a jealous heart, he sees it as something precious, something to be protected. M. Henry wrote that “Jesus Christ was zealously affected to the house of God, his church: he loved it, and was always jealous for its honour and welfare. This zeal did even eat him up; it made him humble himself, and spend himself, and expose himself.” Would that our hearts be truly broken when the name of our Lord is blasphemed, His church persecuted, when in nations we see brothers and sisters in Christ killed for their stand in His Gospel.
The Jews who were present at the temple raised this question to Jesus: “What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?” Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple; and in three days I will raise it up.” From the darkness of their hearts, the Jews answered, “Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?” However, Jesus spoke of His resurrection, “of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.” An illustration of such a faith in the Word of God is seen when the resurrected Lord drew near to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus. They did not recognize Jesus but heard his teaching as “he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). After the risen Lord had sat with them and broke bread and blessed it, he vanished from their sight. Their eyes were then opened, and they “said to another, Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (32). We must go to Scripture with hearts burning to hear the Word of our Savior; for the Spirit will teach us and guide us into all things of Christ our Lord. The inspired Word of God is given “to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15).
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