Restoring the Temple
A father would understandably burn with a righteous anger if he saw drugs wreaking destruction in the life of his child. We wouldn’t expect him to flippantly dismiss such devastation. No, we would expect him to do everything necessary to drive that evil out and see restoration take place.
When Jesus, the Son of God, entered His Father’s house on earth—the temple in Jerusalem—and looked round at the scene, it was painful to Him. A place intended for the worship of God had become a place given over to the worship of money. A place intended to beckon the world to meet the living God had become one that kept the nations at arm’s length. He found it intolerable that the name of God, the glory of God, was being besmirched and tarnished. There is no reason for us to stand back and try to mitigate Jesus’ actions. The holy anger of Christ burned with zeal and purity. This was not the time for polite conversation.
Jesus knew exactly why the temple was there. It was the place of meeting God. It was meant to be the joy of the whole earth. What He found instead was completely opposed to its purpose—and in His words and actions, He made that abundantly clear.
Interestingly, when the Pharisees confronted Jesus afterwards, they didn’t challenge His actions; they challenged His authority. Jesus responded to this challenge with a puzzling statement: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19). The temple He referred to, John explains, was Himself (v 21). One day, Jesus would come to Jerusalem not to visit the temple complex but to give His own body and blood as the full and final sacrifice for sins, and then to rise to new life and to reign forever. It was on that authority that He was making clear the difference between what God had intended the temple to be and what it had been made to become.
Here, then, we are confronted by a Jesus who is radical—who responds with zeal and protectiveness to the issue of God’s glory. This Jesus is not meek and mild, always affirming and never challenging. He is the Great High Priest, who came not only to cleanse the temple precincts but also to cleanse our hearts and deal with our alienation. In Him, the true temple, God has built “a house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56:7).
So look afresh at Jesus, who brooked no compromise in pursuing the glory of God through enabling the nations to worship Him rightly. Look afresh at Jesus, who used His authority and perfections willingly to take our place and bear our punishment in His body so we could be restored. Look afresh at Jesus, of whose amazing grace you are a beneficiary. And let His zeal for God’s glory also be yours.
35And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42“He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
The Death of Jesus
45Now from the sixth hour6 there was darkness over all the land7 until the ninth hour.8 46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
51And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son9 of God!”
55There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
Get the Program, Devotional, and Bible Reading Plan delivered daily right to your inbox.