Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as written and recorded by John Mark. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the first seventeen verses of the twelfth chapter. When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find Jesus begging to speak another parable unto those who were present within the city of Jerusalem. When we left off in the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark we find Jesus once more entering into the city of Jerusalem, and as He was walking in the Temple there were certain of those from among the chief priests and of the scribes and of the elders who came unto Him in order that they might entrap and ensnare Him with His words and with their questions. If you read the final set of verses within the eleventh chapter of this New Testament gospel you will find that when the scribes, the chief priests and the elders of Israel came unto Jesus, they came unto Him with one specific question—“By what authority do you do the things you do?” In order to understand that which was asked here it is imperative that you journey back to the fifteenth verse of the same chapter, for it’s when you begin reading with the fifteenth verse that you encounter that which caused the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel to be so stirred up with the words and actions of Jesus. As you turn your attention to this passage of Scripture you will find that Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem a second time, and as He went into the Temple, He began to cast out those that sold and bought in the Temple. In addition to this, Mark also records how He overthrew the tables of the money changers, as well as the seats of those which sold doves. After cursing the fig tree on His way into the city of Jerusalem Jesus now enters into the city itself, and makes His way to the Jewish Temple where He would engage Himself on a specific and particular mission and assignment. It’s actually quite interesting to consider how Mark writes and records this particular event, for Mark simply states that Jesus came into Jerusalem with His disciples and how Jesus went straight for the Temple. The way Mark writes and records this particular event seems to indicate and suggest that Jesus deliberately and intentionally came into Jerusalem in order that He might go straight for the Temple. I am sitting here this morning and I can’t help but think to myself how when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem on the day of His triumphal entry, He didn’t initially observe all that was taking place, and all that was unfolding within the city, as well as in the Temple within the city, and departed without doing a single thing.
As I sit here this morning I can’t help but consider how intrinsically linked and connected Jesus’ triumphal entry into the city of Jerusalem truly was with His second journey into the city, as well as His entrance into the Temple which stood at the very heart of the city. If you begin reading the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark you will find how when the disciples brought the cold unto Jesus they cast their garments on it and Jesus sat upon the colt. As Jesus was approaching and entering into the city of Jerusalem there were many who spread their garments in the way, and others who cut down branches of trees, and strawed them along the way in which Jesus was journeying. Mark records how those who went before, and those who followed proceeded to cry out, saying, “Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord: Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the LORd: Hosanna in the highest.” Mark would go on to write and record how as Jesus entered into Jerusalem He came into the Temple and looked round about all things and departed with His disciples when it became evening. Pause for a moment and consider this for a minute, for Mark makes it perfectly clear that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem on the day of His triumphal entry, He came into and came unto the Temple and looked round about upon all things. Please don’t miss and lose sight of the phrase “and when he had looked round about upon all things,” for in His first and initial visit into the city of Jerusalem Jesus did in fact enter into the Temple, and did in fact see all that was going on. I do not believe for one moment that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem the second time, the money changers had assembled and set themselves up, nor that the seats of those which sold doves were set up. There is not a doubt in my mind that the same sights and the same sounds which Jesus saw when He entered into the city of Jerusalem the second time, as well as when He entered into the Temple the second time were present the day before when He entered into the city and came unto the Temple. How absolutely interesting and intriguing it is that when Jesus first enters into the city of Jerusalem, and when Jesus first enters into the Temple He simply looks round about upon all things, and simply observes all things rather than doing anything. This first entrance into the Temple during this week of His passion would be nothing more than Jesus entering into the Temple, looking round about upon all things, and simply doing nothing.
I am convinced there is a tremendous truth and a tremendous lesson that must be learned and can be gleaned from this particular passage of Scripture, and from this particular event within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ. I believe that there are times within our lives when Jesus will enter and rather than doing anything, and rather than saying anything, He simply watches and carefully observes. I am convinced that there are times within our lives when Jesus chooses to say absolutely nothing, and chooses to do absolutely nothing, and instead chooses to simply carefully and casually observe that which is unfolding within our lives. What’s more, is that I am convinced that there are times within our services and within our meetings and gathering together when Jesus will make His way into our midst, and while it is true that He is indeed in the house—He chooses to say and do nothing. WHEN JESUS ENTERS INTO THE HOUSE AND SAYS NOTHING! WHEN JESUS ENTERS INTO THE HOUSE AND DOES NOTHING! The more I sit here and consider this particular passage of Scripture, the more I can’t help but be captivated and gripped with and by the fact that when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem—and more specifically when He entered into the city of Jerusalem—He chose to say absolutely nothing, and HE chose to do absolutely nothing. Mark holds no punches and makes it quite clear that Jesus did in fact enter into the city of Jerusalem, and Jesus did in fact enter into the Temple, however, rather than saying a single word, and rather than engaging Himself in a single act, He chose simply to remain silent. Would it surprise you to consider the fact that it is possible for the presence of Jesus to enter into and even saturate the buildings in which we gather together and worship Him, and yet even though His presence is there, He chooses not to speak a single a word, and chooses not to do a single thing? Would it shock and surprise you to think about and consider the fact that it is possible for Jesus to enter into the house where we gather together to worship Him, and yet rather than become active in our midst, He simply chooses to watch and observe? I can’t help but wonder how many times within our services we can’t sense and feel the presence of Jesus among us in our midst, and yet rather than Him speaking unto us, and rather than Him engaging Himself in a single action, He simply chooses to watch and carefully observe that which takes place in our midst. What’s more, is that if it is true that Jesus can enter into the house any time He wants, and if He chooses to casually observe and watch that which is taking place among us in our midst, what does He see? If Jesus were to enter into the house and building where we gather together and worship Him this upcoming Sunday morning what would He see when He looks round about upon all things?
I have to admit that I absolutely love the phrase Mark used in this passage of Scripture, for when Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem, and when Jesus entered into the Temple, He looked round about upon all things. Did you catch that single word found within that simple phrase? If you aren’t careful and deliberate in your reading it might be easy to miss, and even overlook. The word which I am speaking of is the word “all,” for it speaks directly to that which Jesus looked upon and observed when He entered into the Temple within the city of Jerusalem. Notice that Mark didn’t write how Jesus looked round about upon some things, or how Jesus looked round about upon most things. I would dare say that under and according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Mark chose to use the word “all,” thus indicating and connoting that there wasn’t a single thing which Jesus missed when entering into the Temple. The fact Mark used the word all when speaking of that which Jesus saw when looking upon those things which were present within the Temple completely and absolutely suggests that there wasn’t a single thing which He overlooked, and there wasn’t a single thing which He missed. The fact that Mark writes and records how Jesus looked round about upon all things wonderfully and powerfully suggests that even though Jesus deliberately and intentionally chose to say and do nothing, He didn’t miss a single thing that was taking place and unfolding within the courts of the Temple which stood in the city of Jerusalem. When Jesus entered into the city of Jerusalem, and when Jesus entered into the Temple in order that He might observe everything that was taking place in the midst thereof, He carefully and deliberately looked round about upon all things. With that being said, I would also draw your attention to the fact that even if it angered Him, even if it pained Him, even if broke His heart, He chose to carefully observe it all. There wasn’t a single thing which Jesus chose to overlook and ignore when entering into the Temple of the Lord which stood in the city of Jerusalem. Pause for a moment and consider the Lord of the house coming to the house and carefully observing absolutely everything that was taking place within it. Consider the fact that the Lord would enter into the house which stood within the walls of the city of Jerusalem, and carefully observed and watched absolutely everything that took place. Oh, it is absolutely necessary that we don’t miss or ignore this particular point, for to do so would mean that we neglect to recognize that Jesus doesn’t ignore or overlook anything—regardless of whether or not it is within our own hearts and lives, or whether it has to do with His house and the placer of His name and His presence. In fact, there is an Old Testament passage of Scripture which reveals just how passionate about the house the Lord truly is. The more I think about it, there are two additional passages of Scripture within the Old Testament that reveals just how passionate and just how zealous over the house the Lord truly is. Consider if you will the words which are found in the Old Testament prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Malachi, and the zeal of the Lord concerning His house:
“Hear the word of the Lord, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? Saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood” (Isaiah 1:11-15).
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the Lord, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, are these. For if throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; if ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; and come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the Lord. But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the Lord, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their drought, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? Saith the Lord: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore thus saith the Lord God; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched” (Jeremiah 7:1-20).
“A son honour the his father, and a servant his master: If then I be a father, where is mine honour? And if I be a master, where is my fear? Saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? And if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? Offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? Saith the Lord of hosts. And now I pray you, beseech God that He will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will He regard your persons? Saith the Lord of hosts. Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall bear great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! And ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? Saith the Lord. But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen” (Malachi 1:3-14).
Each of these passages point to the absolutely incredible reality that the Lord is very much zealous and very much concerned about His house. When we read the eleventh chapter of the New Testament gospel of Mark we find Jesus entering into the city of Jerusalem on the day of His triumphal entry—and not only entering into the city of Jerusalem, but also entering into the Temple which was present within the city. I cannot escape the fact that even though Jesus had looked upon all things, and even though Jesus had observed everything that was spoken and everything that was done within the courts of the Temple He chose to remain silent and do absolutely nothing. What’s ‘more, is that not only did Jesus observe and remain silent and do nothing, but Scripture records how Jesus departed from both the Temple and the city of Jerusalem when the evening came and returned to Bethany. Pause and consider this, for not only did Jesus observe all things which were said and done in the courts of the Temple and all things which are done in the city of Jerusalem, but Jesus chose to remain silent and inactive on that first day. Rather than speaking a single word, and rather than engaging Himself in any action in the midst of the Temple, Jesus chose to remain silent, to remain inactive, and even to depart from both the city and the Temple. What we must carefully consider when we read this passage of Scripture is that we dare not mistake the silence of Jesus, nor the inactivity of Jesus as approval or even a commendation of what was taking place within the Temple of the Lord, and within the courts of the Temple. There is a temptation to think that simply because Jesus remains silent and chooses not to engage Himself in any type of activity that He somehow approves of what we are doing, and what we are saying. There is a nagging temptation to think that even though we might sense and feel the presence of Jesus among us within our midst, and even though he chooses to remain silent and inactive, He is somehow pleased, and somehow approves of that which is taking place among us within our midst. Mark writes and records how Jesus looked round about upon all things and yet instead of acting upon that which He saw, and instead of speaking concerning that which He observed, He chose instead to depart and to return unto Bethany. Oh, I can’t help but wonder what went through the heart and mind of Jesus as He exited the city of Jerusalem, as he exited the Temple, and as He returned unto Bethany. What went through the heart and mind of Jesus as He remained and abided within Bethany that night? Was Jesus able to sleep that night, or did sleep elude Him because He was pained, grieved and angered by what He saw within the courts of the Temple of the living God?
It’s worth noting that although Jesus looked round about upon all things and chose to remain silent, chose to remain inactive, and chose to depart and return unto Bethany, He would return to the house a second time. What’s more, is that not only did Jesus return to the house a second time, but it was on this second occasion when Jesus actually acted upon that which He had observed the day before. THERE COMES A SECOND! It might be possible that those who observed Jesus leave the Temple that first day, and even enter the Temple that second day thought and considered within themselves that Jesus was somehow unaffected and not bothered by what He had seen within the courts of the Temple. Imagine their shock and surprise when Jesus entered into the Temple the second time and proceeded with cleansing the house by overturning the tables of money, driving out the money changers, and casting out those who sold doves. Imagine the sheer and utter terror and dread that must have seized the hearts and minds of those present on this second day when Jesus refused to remain silent, and when Jesus refused to remain inactive. Oh, it might have been true that when He first entered into the Temple, when He first entered into the courts of the Lord, and when He first observed and looked upon all that He had seen He chose to remain silent and chose to remain inactive, but when He returns to the house the second time, we see a completely different picture of Jesus. In all reality, I am convinced that this is true of Jesus the Christ when He returns to catch up and rapture His bride and His body unto Himself. Scripture is quite clear that there is coming a moment when in the twinkling of an eye the dead in Christ shall rise first, and then we which are alive and remain will be caught up together to meet those who have risen first in the heavens and will meet our Lord face to face. What we must understand, however, is that while it is true the first time Jesus returned He did so in order that He might rapture and carry His bride away unto Himself, the second time He returns, He will return as a conquering King who will exercise dominion and authority over and upon all nations. What’s more, is that this picture is even true when you consider the first manifestation of Jesus the Christ when the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and when Jesus the Christ will return the second time. We must recognize and understand when Jesus the Christ came to the earth the first time, he did in fact come as John the Baptist boldly and emphatically proclaimed and declared—“Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world.” When Jesus Christ was first manifested within and upon the earth, He first came as the Lamb of God which would take away the sins of the world. When He would return to the earth for the second time, He would not come as the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, for He already completed that task. When the Son of man returns to the earth a second time, He will return as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, and as one whose vestige and robe will drip with the blood of His enemies and adversaries.
When Jesus entered into the courts of the Temple the first time after His triumphal entry, He entered in simply observing and looking upon all things, and choosing to remain silent and inactive. When, however, He returned the second time, He would fully and completely engage Himself in the courts of the Lord. When Jesus returned to Jerusalem that second time, and when Jesus returned to the Temple that second time, He could no longer remain silent, and He could no longer remain inactive, but needed to rise up and act decisively and quickly. While it is true that Jesus chose to say and do nothing on that first entrance and visit to the Temple, the second visit to the Temple would be entirely and completely different, for it would be on that second visit when Jesus would fashion a chord and whip and would throughly purge the house of His Father. Mark writes and records how when and as Jesus went into the Temple, He began to cast out them that sold and bought in the Temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those that sold doves. What’s more, is that Mark goes on to write and record how He would not suffer any man to carry any vessel through the Temple. Furthermore, Mark writes and records how Jesus would go on to declare and proclaim how it was written, “My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer,” and how they had made it a den of thieves. Through their merchandise and through their commercialization of worship of the true and living God, they had transformed the house of the living God into a den of thieves, when it should have been a house of prayer for and unto all nations. Please don’t miss and lose sight of this tremendous reality, for to do so would be to miss what the Lord might be doing within your life, and what the Lord might be doing in the midst of your house and congregation where you gather together to worship others. Oh, it might be that you have experienced the presence of the living God in your midst, and yet the Lord appears to be silent and inactive in your midst. It would be very easy to perceive this silence and inactivity as approval, or even as commendation of what we are doing, and yet sometimes to do so is more deadly and dangerous than anything we could do. Jesus entered into the courts of the Temple and looked upon all things, and yet He chose to remain silent, he chose to remain inactive, and even chose to depart without giving any indication that He was angered, grieved and displeased with that which was taking place. How absolutely and utterly shocked those in the courts of the Temple were when Jesus returned the second time—this time with a chord and whip which He himself had fashioned in order that He might drive out the commercialization of worship and of His Father’s house.
I can’t help but view this particular occurrence and event within the life and ministry of Jesus the Christ as a portent and shadow if you will of Jesus’ activity in the earth—not only when He walked among us as the Word which became flesh, but also when He will return to the earth a second time. The first time Jesus came to the earth He did not confront the nations of the earth, nor did He confront the wickedness that was so pervasive within and upon the earth. When Jesus Christ first came to the earth and manifested Himself among men, He did so as the sinless and spotless Lamb of God which would take away the sins of the world. When, however, Jesus returns the second time, He will not return as the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world, but as the Lion of the tribe of Judah who will judge the wickedness which is rampant upon the earth. Just as there came a second visit to the Temple during the week of Jesus’ passion which would ultimately lead to His death, so also there is coming a second visit and a second manifestation in the earth when Jesus will return as the conquering King who will judge the enemies and adversaries of the living God. I can’t help but be reminded of the words which are written and recorded within the nineteenth chapter of the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. Consider if you will the words which are written in this particular portion of Scripture beginning with the eleventh verse of the nineteenth chapter:
“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon Him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the wine press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beats, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beat was taken, and with inm the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beasts, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh” (Revelation 19:11-21).