By Chris Chambers
Pastor, Brush Creek Baptist Church, Brush Creek
In Mark 11, Jesus enters Jerusalem on the back of a donkey with a large crowd cheering for Him and welcoming Him. What were their motives? Were they welcoming the true Messiah or, were they welcoming a miracle worker? Were they welcoming a political deliverer from their current status as citizens of Rome?
Jesus then cleanses the temple. He throws out the ones buying and selling and turns over the tables of the money changers. We see a different side of Jesus. We usually see a compassionate and merciful rabbi, but this episode shows us an angry and animated man. However, there was no sin in what He did. His motives were pure. There was sin and corruption in His Father’s house that needed to be dealt with. So, He dealt with it.
Jesus is never complacent or compromising with sin. He wants to purify us from our sin. Ultimately, it is His blood that purifies us. Hebrews 9:22 says, “According to the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” When Christ died on the cross, He provided the way for us to be purified of our sins. In Psalm 51:2 David asks God to, “Completely wash away my guilt and cleanse me from my sin.” Have you asked God to purify and cleanse you?
Look at Jesus cleansing the temple again. Then look at your church. The business that was being conducted in the temple may have been thought to be well intentioned by a committee that wanted to make things easier for the traveler coming to sacrifice in the temple.
But that business had gotten out of hand and truly should not have even been allowed to begin. The business was corrupting and hindering worship of God. There are things like that in churches today.
What hinders your worship of God in church Sunday? Are you more concerned with the flavor of coffee and the freshness of the muffin than you are the condition of your heart before a worship service? Is raising money for the mission trip through a t-shirt sale your greatest focus before the worship service on Sunday? These may be well intentioned and, sometimes, needed events but ask yourself, “Does this add to worship or does it distract from worship?” Would what you are doing be something Jesus would purify from your Sunday worship?
Jesus points out a widow in Mark 12:41-44 who gave all she had as an offering to God. She understood pure worship was not about what she received, but what she gave.
When you worship on Sunday, are you more focused on what you receive than what you give? If so, do you think your heart for worship is pure or does it need to be purified before you arrive? Are you worshiping a miracle worker for what he can do for you? Or, are you worshiping the Messiah who has done enough? Has Christ purified you?