Mark 11 & John 12
Tracing the history of the temple of God throughout scripture is a fascinating study. The temple of Jerusalem and Jesus’ pronouncement of judgement on it comes into focus in our passage today. Before we look at this pericope in Mark and John, I want to give a brief overview of the history of God’s temple leading up to this point.
The first time we hear of a structure that God dwells in is the tabernacle in Exodus (read Ex. 25-40). This was not a temple but a portable structure that represented God’s presence among his people. This was used for hundreds of years until the time of Solomon. David (Solomon’s father) desired to build a temple for God but God wanted Solomon to build it. The construction and dedication of the first temple can be read in I Kings 6-8. However, after Solomon the people of Israel engaged in generational sin and idolatry for hundreds of years and in 586 BC, the glorious temple that was erected was utterly destroyed by the Babylonians. Roughly 70 years later (516 BC) a second temple was constructed and it is in this second temple that our passage takes place in.
Why does Jesus flip tables over and make a ruckus? Because the temple was originally meant to be a sanctuary of holiness and worship to God. However, it morphed into a commercial center for trade, business, and politics. The glory and holiness of God was lost. So Jesus as the rightful king of Israel pronounced God’s judgement upon the temple. Forty years later (AD 70) the temple would be destroyed again, this time by the Romans.
You may be wondering – was another temple built? No. But Paul teaches in his letters, the church, the group of redeemed human beings in the Messiah, now become the temple of God. Whereas God’s presence filled the tabernacle and previous temple, now his presence dwells among his people by means of his holy spirit. Whereas the previous temples were places of worship and holiness now the church is the epicenter of worship to God. Listen to the apostle Paul:
“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are” – I Cor. 3.16-17
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at BibleGateway here – Mark 11 & John 12
Tomorrow we will read Matthew 22 and Mark 12.