“But You Have Made It…”

“But You Have Made It…”

As Jesus entered His last week before the cross, He entered the city of Jerusalem. Inside the temple complex, He “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” (Mark 11:15). He had done this at the beginning of His ministry (John 2:13- 17), and now His “Father’s house” was being abused again.

Jesus did not just show His disapproval for their actions, but He also “taught” them what was wrong with what they were doing. Note His short “teaching” in verse 17.

Jesus began by quoting Scripture. “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’?” He was quoting from Isaiah 56:7 (cf. 2 Chron. 6:32). In order to begin trying to correct their actions, notice where Jesus began—with Scripture. If someone is going to argue against something that you say, make sure that their argument is against the Scripture itself, and not you.

After pointing out God’s clear expectations in His Word, Jesus identified what they were doing. Note that He uses a Bible term to identify what they are doing. “But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” The expression “den of thieves” comes from Jeremiah 7:11. We learn at least two lessons from this example of Jesus. First, start with the Bible— “Here is what God says.” Second, if you are going to correct someone, use Bible words to do that (2 Tim. 3:16). That keeps you “out of the way.”

Now, is there any further application of Jesus’ words in Mark 11:17 to us today? Is it possible (or likely) that there is a clear teaching of Scripture that we “have made” into something completely different?

Could God say to us, “Is it not written, ‘Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own’ (1 Cor. 6:19)? But you have made it whatever is ‘right in your own eyes’ (Deut. 12:8)”?

Could God say to us, “Is it not written, ‘Upon this rock I will build My church’ (Matt. 16:18)? But ‘you have made your gods for yourselves’ to serve them (Jer. 2:28)”?

Could God say to us, “Is it not written, ‘Fear God and keep His commandments’ (Ecc. 12:13)? But ‘you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition’ (Matt. 15:6)”?

Jesus corrected the actions of those in the temple by pointing to Scripture. He corrects us today in that same way—with Scripture. May we conform ourselves to His teaching.


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