This is the third part of my character study of people who had interaction with Jesus during Holy Week. The First Part was a comparison between the crowd at the gate in Jerusalem and Zacchaeus. The Second Part compared the rich young ruler and Blind Bartimaeus. Today, I want to start with an interesting group- the other side of the coin…the money changers- get it “other side if the coin” ?
Mark 11- Jesus Cleanses the Temple
15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching.
These guys were dirty, rotten scoundrels. The money changers would take foreign currency from Jews visiting the temple during the Passover season and exchange it for Jewish currency- of course they would charge an exorbitant amount of interest. And the sellers of doves- they would ‘inspect’ the offerings brought into the temple by these same visitors- and declare them unclean and unfit for sacrifice…but the visitor could buy one of theirs which would pass inspection- for a hefty fee.
I’m working hard to find some redeeming quality in these guys for sure. They operated from greed and hate. But Jesus would have given them grace. If they had done what Zacchaeus and Bartimaeus did- I have no doubt that Jesus would reacts as He did with those two gentlemen. I believe that’s why He taught once He was in the temple. And I’ve been there too. I’ve done things I’m not proud of. In fact, I’ve been like all these examples- confused, prideful, following Jesus for the wrong reasons, out for me, myself, and I…thank God Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.
The last example I want to share is from further on in the book of Mark- it’s the anointing at Bethany.
Mark 14- The Anointing at Bethany
3 And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly [b]oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. 4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? 5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized[c] her sharply.
6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me. 7 For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. 8 She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. 9 Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.”
I’m wondering why this woman did what she did? Jesus said that she was preparing Him for burial…so it was an act of servitude, but it also was an act of worship and an act of love.
In the book of John, Jesus follows this act up once they are in Jerusalem by washing the disciples feet- an act of servitude by Jesus. He wanted the disciples to have what this woman had- the right heart.
She indeed could have used the oil for other purposes or sold it- but instead she gave it to Jesus in worship. We should take what little worth we have…and give it to Jesus.
Her love and devotion to Jesus was a reflection of Jesus’s love for her. She knew Jesus- she was Mary the sister of Lazarus, who was raised from the dead. We must also reflect the love Jesus loves us with. I know I’m not capable of proper love, I can’t love anyone on my own effort, with my own love. I need the love from the Holy Spirit, I need Jesus Christ to do that work for me.
Do you have the love from the Holy Spirit within you? Do you want to love with a love like Jesus?
If you want to have the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ who came to seek and save the lost, salvation is as easy as “A.B.C.”
A- Admit that you are a sinner in need of God
B- Believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again for your sins.
C- Choose that Jesus Christ be Lord and Savior of your life.
Here is a simple prayer you can pray. Dear God, I admit I am a sinner and I need You. Please forgive me of my sins. I believe Jesus died for my sins, and was resurrected so I can be reconnected with the Holy Spirit. I confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of my life. Thank You for saving me and giving me abundant life here on earth and eternal life with You in heaven. In Jesus’s name, Amen!
And if you are saved, here is my prayer for us. Father God, I first thank you for Your grace and mercy. I thank you for your Holy Spirit to guide us into a deeper understanding and relationship with you. I thank you for your Word which also guides us and shows us where we can be better- to glorify You. We love You and give you all honor and praise today. In Jesus’s name- Amen.
Grace & Peace,