Jesus Cleansing The Temple In Mark’s Gospel

I noticed a few interesting points in this portion of the Gospel of Mark. There are ironically more details in Mark’s usually concise account of events.

Mark 11:11 HCSB
And He went into Jerusalem and into the temple complex. After looking around at everything, since it was already late, He went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

If he was angry at this point, Jesus held it until the next day. He didn’t just burst on the scene and start driving people out in a sudden fit of rage.

Mark 11:15-17 HCSB
They came to Jerusalem, and He went into the temple complex and began to throw out those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple complex. 17 Then He began to teach them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!”

This wasn’t a political or revolutionary act but it was a demonstration of Jesus’ wrath (Rev. 6:16)–his anger at using His house for pilfering and even using it as a shortcut for those who lived nearby (“would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts”)! As always, He is perfectly sane even though “He is not a tame lion” as C.S. Lewis said of Aslan and which our culture often betrays.

It’s also interesting that he used this as an opportunity to teach (v. 17). He didn’t just ransack the place and then storm out of there.

R. Alan Cole in his commentary on Mark states:

The Greek verb edidasken, taught (i.e. ‘continued teaching’), implies a deliberate teaching programme adopted by Jesus rather than a casual pronouncement, uttered in the heat of anger, amid the justification for his action, as any rabbi would. The Scripture quoted by him is Isaiah 56:7, telling how foreign proselytes will one day be welcomed to the temple. It is noteworthy that Jesus here quotes only the clause in Isaiah about prayer, and omits that about offering sacrifice, for he himself was soon to be the sacrifice that would unite Jew and non-Jew in one (John 11:51-52).

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