15 They came to Jerusalem, and he went into the temple and began to throw out those buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and would not permit anyone to carry goods through the temple. 17 He was teaching 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!” 18 The chief priests and the scribes heard it and started looking for a way to kill him. For they were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was astonished by his teaching. — Mark 11:15-18
Living as the Temple
by Juan Sali
Station Hill Campus
If you were to describe Jesus in one word, what would it be? Did you choose words like savior, lamb, kind, loving, powerful? Did you choose the word “angry”? If you spent any time in church as a kid, you probably recall images that were meant to portray Jesus. I bet none of them showed Him turning over tables in the temple. They were usually pictures of Him teaching or spending time with kids, pictures that pretty much made Him look like the Pied Piper. In reality, Jesus is loving, kind and inviting—but He is so much more than that.
In our passage today, Mark gives an account of Jesus giving “What for” to all the businessmen and women who had turned the temple and the Passover celebration into an exploited opportunity to make a buck.
Jesus had incredibly high expectations for what should and should not happen in God’s house. If someone was going to deviate from those expectations, especially for their personal gain, He wanted to communicate that such behavior was unacceptable. To be honest, His high expectations are actually IMPOSSIBLE. No one can meet them. No one can do that—apart from Him.
So, what about us? We aren’t trying to turn Brentwood Baptist Church into a den of thieves, but what might this teach us about other areas of our lives?
Do we know and lean into the standards and expectations Christ has set for our daily living as image-bearers? What about our attitude toward His church, toward the lost, toward our spouses, kids, or other brothers and sisters in Christ? What about our giving of our time, talents and resources?
Jesus is all-loving, and He invites us all to have a seat at the table. But He also has standards and expectations for how His followers should live. Remember, at the end of the day, if we are in Christ, we are His ambassadors. With that in mind, His standards are reasonable to expect. We might think, “Man, that is such a ‘tight rope’ to walk and a high standard to live by.” However, the good news for us is that Jesus doesn’t expect us to work that out on our own. He has given us help through the power of the Holy Spirit. First Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of him who called us by his glory and goodness.” Let us confidently steward our lives for His glory through His power.
1 Corinthians 6:19–20, “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God. You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.”
- This passage points us to the fact that Jesus was not pleased with how others were dishonoring God with their actions. What are some ways people today dishonor God without even noticing? Are you guilty of any of these? If so, which ones?
- What does this teach you about yourself?
- What areas of your life in Christ are in greater need of alignment with Him?
- In what way are you demonstrating reliance on the Holy Spirit to accomplish this in you?
- Put a piece of tape on a wall at your house. Make sure it is up high so it cannot be reached by your children. As you discuss today’s devotion on God’s standards, be sure to emphasize that we are unable to reach them on our own. Ask your children to take turns jumping to try and touch the tape. You may want to incentivize them with a treat. After they give up, connect that to the point that reaching God’s standards without Christ is impossible. Then pick them up and then let them touch the tape. Share that through Christ, we meet God’s standards because we are made righteous through Him.
Items needed: Painters Tape
- Alternative for older children. Instead of the tape activity, gather some saltine crackers for your family (enough for six crackers for each family member). Set a 60-second timer and see if anyone can eat all six saltines in 60 seconds or less. It seems like an easy task, but is nearly impossible to achieve.
Items needed: Saltines and something to drink after.
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.