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Friday, September 24, 2010

9/24/10 Mark 11:15-19 Need for Reform

15 Then they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling and those who were buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves; 16 and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 He was teaching and saying, "Is it not written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'?  But you have made it a den of robbers." 18 And when the chief priests and the scribes heard it, they kept looking for a way to kill him; for they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was spellbound by his teaching. 19 And when evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

(Cleansing the Temple by Luca fa Presto 1660)
Thoughts: The cleansing of the temple teaches us to be careful to be self-critical and continually look for ways to cleanse and reform the church and ourselves.  Someone said that a young boy went to his neighbor (who was a pastor) and said, "My daddy said you have sinners in your church."  The pastor said, "Yes, we have lots of them!"  The little boy then ran home, slammed the door and went into his perfect-sin-free home.  If there were no sinners in the church, the church would be empty and out of business.  But because there are sinners in the church, there continually needs to be cleansings, and self-critical examinations.  Such cleansings are not pain free or non-offensive.  Such reform movements go against the idea that "anything goes as long as we love each other."  This passage goes against the image some have of a gentle, nodding, super-tolerant Jesus.  Jesus cared about holiness, and spoke against greed and corruption. The church should be reformed according to the Word of God.  Jesus here sought to make His house less worldly and more holy. 

Prayer: Lord, give me eyes to see my own faults.  Wash me, cleanse me, and I will be whiter than snow.

John Calvin commentary abridged: Though Christ saw this abuse many times, he only interupted it twice- at the beginning and end of his ministry.  Christ declared himself both king and priest with authority over the temple. If the church of God contracts pollutions, all the children of God ought to grieve. Not everyone is able to make change in the church.  But let those who see the need, oppose with their tongues what they cannot oppose with their hands.

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