Thieves in the Temple
When Jesus came over the Mount of Olives on his daily trek from Bethany to Jerusalem during his final week, the Temple that Herod the Great began and wouldn’t finish until thirty one years after Jesus’ crucifixion stunned those who saw it. It was more beautiful and higher than the Dome of the Rock, the mosque that sits at the center of the Temple Mound today.
The prophet Isaiah predicted that there would come a day when people of all nations would come and freely receive God’s blessing without cost in the Temple in Jerusalem (Isaiah 55:1-2). God would not only gather his people Israel but all people who would respond to his grace (Isaiah 56:7-8). But when Jesus came into the Temple at the beginning of his final week, he didn’t find people praying.
“When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, he entered the Temple and began to drive out those were buying and selling in the Temple, and he overturned the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He didn’t allow anyone to carry goods through the Temple. And he was teaching, ‘Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves.’
Now the chief priests and the legal experts on the Law heard this and they began seeking for a way to kill him, for they feared him because the crowd was amazed by his teaching. When evening came, they went out of the city.” Mark 11:15-19
This Jerusalem Temple, that Jesus cleaned out but that quickly returned to its money-making ways, was totally destroyed in AD 70 along with the religious leaders who were willing to murder an innocent man to keep themselves in power. But the Temple that Jesus built after he rose from the dead and gave the gift of his Spirit will never be destroyed and it’s not made of precious stone or aluminum sheeting. The “Holy Place” is now each of our bodies who have received Jesus gift of life, and we can simply at any time and instantly connect intimately with our Father in Heaven
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