2.25.09, Mark 11:15-19

Posted on February 25, 2009


15 On 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, 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, they went out of the city.

Passionate Compassion

This is one of those passages that we have read many times, but sometimes don’t truly understand.  What makes it even more confusing for many of us is that it seems so out of character for Jesus, the one we usually see as a shepherd, a friend, and a savior.  What is Jesus getting so upset about here?

Just as a general principle, when we come into contact with passages like this, that leave us scratching our heads, mystified as to what God wants us to learn, it is usually helpful to take a look at the context in detail.  Part of our confusion may be a consequence of us not so much our lack of insight, but not really understanding the cultural or chronological context in which the passage was written.

Most of us know very little about the temple and the rules for worship that were enforced there, but in that time period, worship within the temple was reserved for the Jews alone.  Gentiles were not allowed to worship there.  People with disabilites were not allowed to worship there.  This may seem harsh, but as we discussed previously, Jesus had not yet torn that curtain, and given the full picture of salvation for all humanity – but very soon he would.  So at that moment, these marginalized people were forced to worship outside the temple…the same area where the moneychangers had set up their shop.  Imagine that as you try to draw close to God, people are shouting out prices for doves and animals, exchanging money and leading goats by leashes.  It would be very difficult, if not possible.

And this provides us with the context that we need to understand Jesus’ response properly.  He was so upset because he loves the marginalized and forgotten, and his heart is always passionately for their defense – so should ours.  His salvation is for all people, even for those who we typically set outside the gates of our houses and hearts, and loves them deeply – so should we.  He is passionate about worship, knowing that the experience of drawing close to God is unmatched by any others, and defends the importance and holiness of worship – so should we.  

This relates back to the last few devotionals on boldness, where we saw that Godly boldness is humble boldness – here we see that the best kind of passion we can possess is a compassionate passion for others and their needs.

Questions

1. What can you say you are truly passionate about?  Are these things usually focused on others, or yourself?

2. Is there something that you are passionate about that may be displeasing to God?

3. If you are passionate for others, what is it about that topic or those people that make you passionate for them?

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Posted in: Uncategorized
4 Responses “2.25.09, Mark 11:15-19” →
  1. How can people who are only human develop passions about God? My problem is how to acquire them more than how to use them.


  2. peterwchin

    February 27, 2009

    get ready for the most generic pastor’s answer ever: read the bible.

    we acquire God’s passions by reading the Word, and seeing what God is passionate about. in our readings through mark, we see him passionate and focused on the cross. we just saw him passionate about those who are separated from him. passionate about worship. passionate in reaching out to broken, sick people.

    we have to realize that we don’t DEVELOP passions – we inherit them from God!

  3. This is a really neat way of looking at the passage and certainly one I’ve never heard of before. But one issue that remains for me is that even if Jesus did have “compassionate passion” for the gentiles worshiping in the temple, why couldn’t he have found a more compassionate way of dealing with the moneychangers?

    I just feel like if I was put in his situation and there were people selling stuff in the sanctuary at ODPC, I would ask them to leave, not overturn their tables. I realize that the moneychangers may have been stubborn, but surely there was someway Jesus could have cleared the temple without having to resort to such drastic measures right?


  4. peterwchin

    February 28, 2009

    remember, that this compassionate passion is directed towards those who have been left behind and marginalized. but for those who overlook the needs of others and stomp over their needs and wounds, like the pharisees and moneychangers, God has a different kind of passion… anger.

    I know that we commonly don’t think of God in this way, but we can’t really ignore it. in the book of psalms, we read again and again how God’s hand is against those who are wicked, who trap others. Jesus’ interaction with the pharisees is not gentle… it is poisonous.

    this is part of God’s character, and we can’t forget that, that when it comes to injustice and wickedness, he is an angry, righteous, wrathful God. but even though our Father may get angry, it does not mean that he stops loving us. does that make sense?

2.25.09, Mark 11:15-19

Posted on February 25, 2009


15 On 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, 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, they went out of the city.

Passionate Compassion

This is one of those passages that we have read many times, but sometimes don’t truly understand.  What makes it even more confusing for many of us is that it seems so out of character for Jesus, the one we usually see as a shepherd, a friend, and a savior.  What is Jesus getting so upset about here?

Just as a general principle, when we come into contact with passages like this, that leave us scratching our heads, mystified as to what God wants us to learn, it is usually helpful to take a look at the context in detail.  Part of our confusion may be a consequence of us not so much our lack of insight, but not really understanding the cultural or chronological context in which the passage was written.

Most of us know very little about the temple and the rules for worship that were enforced there, but in that time period, worship within the temple was reserved for the Jews alone.  Gentiles were not allowed to worship there.  People with disabilites were not allowed to worship there.  This may seem harsh, but as we discussed previously, Jesus had not yet torn that curtain, and given the full picture of salvation for all humanity – but very soon he would.  So at that moment, these marginalized people were forced to worship outside the temple…the same area where the moneychangers had set up their shop.  Imagine that as you try to draw close to God, people are shouting out prices for doves and animals, exchanging money and leading goats by leashes.  It would be very difficult, if not possible.

And this provides us with the context that we need to understand Jesus’ response properly.  He was so upset because he loves the marginalized and forgotten, and his heart is always passionately for their defense – so should ours.  His salvation is for all people, even for those who we typically set outside the gates of our houses and hearts, and loves them deeply – so should we.  He is passionate about worship, knowing that the experience of drawing close to God is unmatched by any others, and defends the importance and holiness of worship – so should we.  

This relates back to the last few devotionals on boldness, where we saw that Godly boldness is humble boldness – here we see that the best kind of passion we can possess is a compassionate passion for others and their needs.

Questions

1. What can you say you are truly passionate about?  Are these things usually focused on others, or yourself?

2. Is there something that you are passionate about that may be displeasing to God?

3. If you are passionate for others, what is it about that topic or those people that make you passionate for them?

Posted in: Uncategorized
4 Responses “2.25.09, Mark 11:15-19” →
  1. How can people who are only human develop passions about God? My problem is how to acquire them more than how to use them.


  2. peterwchin

    February 27, 2009

    get ready for the most generic pastor’s answer ever: read the bible.

    we acquire God’s passions by reading the Word, and seeing what God is passionate about. in our readings through mark, we see him passionate and focused on the cross. we just saw him passionate about those who are separated from him. passionate about worship. passionate in reaching out to broken, sick people.

    we have to realize that we don’t DEVELOP passions – we inherit them from God!

  3. This is a really neat way of looking at the passage and certainly one I’ve never heard of before. But one issue that remains for me is that even if Jesus did have “compassionate passion” for the gentiles worshiping in the temple, why couldn’t he have found a more compassionate way of dealing with the moneychangers?

    I just feel like if I was put in his situation and there were people selling stuff in the sanctuary at ODPC, I would ask them to leave, not overturn their tables. I realize that the moneychangers may have been stubborn, but surely there was someway Jesus could have cleared the temple without having to resort to such drastic measures right?


  4. peterwchin

    February 28, 2009

    remember, that this compassionate passion is directed towards those who have been left behind and marginalized. but for those who overlook the needs of others and stomp over their needs and wounds, like the pharisees and moneychangers, God has a different kind of passion… anger.

    I know that we commonly don’t think of God in this way, but we can’t really ignore it. in the book of psalms, we read again and again how God’s hand is against those who are wicked, who trap others. Jesus’ interaction with the pharisees is not gentle… it is poisonous.

    this is part of God’s character, and we can’t forget that, that when it comes to injustice and wickedness, he is an angry, righteous, wrathful God. but even though our Father may get angry, it does not mean that he stops loving us. does that make sense?

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