Mark 11: Religious profiteers

November 8th, 2006

In today’s reading, Jesus threw the moneychangers and profiteers out of the temple. If he returned to earth today, who would he be throwing out of the temple? Maybe shonky televangelists who enrich themselves at the expense of their vulnerable viewers. Maybe those who enrich themselves by claiming to sell blessings or healing or other benefits from God. Maybe politicians who gain power by claiming to be the exclusive representative and mouthpiece of God in the political process. Maybe anyone who tries to use God to gain personal wealth or power.

Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 11

11:1 On the way to Jerusalem, near Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, he sent out two of his disciples, 11:2 saying, “Go to the village opposite you. As soon as you enter into it, you will find a tied-up young donkey on which no one has sat. Untie him, and bring him. 11:3 If anyone asks, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here straight away.'”

11:4 They went and found the donkey tied in a doorway outside in the street, and they untied him. 11:5 Some people who stood there asked, “What are you doing untying the donkey?” 11:6 They responded just as Jesus had instructed, and they let them go.

11:7 They brought the donkey to Jesus, and threw their garments on it, and Jesus sat on it. 11:8 Many people spread their garments on the road, and others cut branches from trees and spread them on the road. 11:9 Those who went in front and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 11:10 Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”

11:11 Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem. He looked around carefully at everything and then, because it was now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. 11:12 The next day when they were returning from Bethany he was hungry. 11:13 In the distance he saw a fig tree with leaves, and he went closer to see if he could find any fruit on it. When he came to it he found nothing but leaves, because the season for figs had not yet arrived. 11:14 Jesus said to it, “No one will ever eat fruit from you again!” and his disciples heard it.

11:15 Arriving in Jerusalem, Jesus went into the temple and chased out the people who were selling and buying in the temple, and upended the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold the doves. 11:16 He would not allow anyone to carry goods through the temple, 11:17 and he taught the people, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ You have made it a den of robbers!”

11:18 The senior priests and religious lawyers heard of it, and looked for ways to get rid of him. They were afraid of him, because all the crowd was spellbound by his teaching.

11:19 When evening came, they left the city. 11:20 As they were returning in the morning, they saw the fig tree shrivelled up from the roots. 11:21 Peter noticed it and said, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has shrivelled up.” 11:22 Jesus answered them, “Trust God. 11:23 I can guarantee that if you tell this mountain, ‘Rise up and fall into the sea,’ and don’t doubt in you heart, but believe that what you say is happening, you will have whatever you say. 11:24 Believe that you have received whatever you pray and ask for, and you shall have it. 11:25 Whenever you stand praying, forgive anyone you have anything against, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive your sins.”

11:27 They arrived again at Jerusalem, and as he was walking through the temple the senior priests, religious lawyers and elders came up to him 11:28 and demanded, “By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you permission to do these things?” 11:29 Jesus replied, “I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 11:30 Was the baptism of John from heaven, or from men? Answer me.” 11:31 They debated amongst themselves, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven;’ he will say, ‘Why didn’t you believe him?’ 11:32 If we say, ‘From men;’…” they feared the people, because everyone thought John really was a prophet. 11:33 They answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said to them, “Then I won’t tell you by what authority I do these things either.”

Entry Filed under: Legalism

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. » Cle&hellip  |  September 13th, 2008 at 8:55 am

    […] Mark chapter 11 describes Jesus driving the merchants and moneychangers out of the temple, saying, “Isn’t it written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?’ You have made it a den of robbers!” These people had taken advantage of the people’s devotion to God, and were using that to extract a profit. It seems to be implied that, not only were these people selling stuff in a place which was supposed to be set aside for worshipping God; they were also charging unfair prices. […]

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