84 Countdown to the cross

Luke 19:45-48
Isaiah 56:4-8
Ⅰ Cleanse the temple

This morning, it is from the article of 19:45-48, the third acts of marching to Jerusalem of Jesus; it is referred to as a "Cleanse the temple". Mark (11:15-18) is treating this as next day of march for some reason; but Luke and Matthew are treating this as a march of that day. Probably, it will be more accurate as a temporal order. The article of Luke is thus. It seems that this would be the vestibule of temple, but Jesus who went into the temple began to drive out the merchants (45). "It is written, 'And My house shall be a house of prayer' but you have made it a robbers' den." (46) To this claim and action of Jesus, Luke added these. "And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for the people were hanging upon His words." (47-48) The article of Luke is shortest than the other three Gospels, and it is summarize the main points briefly; probably, it will emphasize the completion message about the entry to Jerusalem. Let's take a listen.

The vestibule of the temple was called the "garden of the Gentiles", it was in the part of where Herod the Great had built; but it was the very wide place, and it was always overflowed in the vert of various races. Since it is said, particularly, Jerusalem population of tens of thousands in everyday had ballooned to 500000 people at the time of special events such as the Jewish Passover, its congestion would have been something incredible. It has been inferred Betepage where Jesus has passed would have been the tent village of such an occasion. There were people who did business in anticipation of such a turnout. What kind of business was it? There were two types. The one type was to deal sacrifice animals to the temple, and the another type was the exchange of money to the temple. People who do such a trade was the state of store putting only a plate on top of the table; but, it was done in the region of the temple, so it did not mean everyone was ok. Only those who had obtained permission from the officials of the temple could share that special privilege. Officials who take that sanction was the chief priests of the handful who were said to be the noble priest of the temple. They were people who assist the high priest, but they seemed to take charge of the administrative part of the temple. Of course, a right coils itself round there. There is it in Verse 47, "The chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people"; but they would be people who were coiling around such concession, I think. Then, in fact, this visible extremism behavior of Jesus, it will be able to say that it would have been due to the functional recovery of the original temple.


Ⅱ A house of prayer

"It is written, 'And My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you have made it a robbers' den." Jesus has cited from Isaiah 56:7 and from Jeremiah 7:11; it says. "For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.", "Has this house, which is called by My name, because a den of robbers in your sight?" When the temple was completed, Solomon prayed like this in its dedication ceremony. "O Lord, the God of Israel, there is no God like Thee in heaven above or on earth beneath, who art keeping covenant and showing lovingkindness to Thy servants who walk before Thee with all their heart, who hast kept with Thy servant, my father David, that which Thou hast promised him; indeed, Thou hast spoken with Thy mouth and fulfilled it with Thy hand as it is this day. Now therefore, O Lord, the God of Israel, keep with Thy servant David my father that which Thou hast promised him, saying, 'You shall not lock a man to sit on the throne of Israel, if only your sons take heed to their way to walk before Me as you have walked.' Now therefore, O God of Israel, let Thy word, I pray Thee, be confirmed which Thou hast spoken to Thy servant, my father David. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built! Yet have regard to the prayer of Thy servant and to his supplication, O Lord my God, to listen to the cry and to the prayer which Thy servant prays before Thee today; that Thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, toward the place of which Thou hast said, 'My name shall be there,' to listen to the prayer which Thy servant shall pray toward this place. And listen to the supplication of Thy servant and of Thy people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling place; hear and forgive. ..." (1 Kings 8:23-53)

Solomon prayed that if someone comes to this house and pray toward this house, please hear his prayer. It would be good to hear that the most basic understanding of the temple in Israel is showing, here. A temple was a place for people to see God. However, the temple became a place to celebrate the ritual elements of religious act that priests pray while burning the sacrifices which people has offered on the altar gradually. "The sacrifice to God", it was there already in the times of Abraham and Moses retroactively; and because its rule was shown in Leviticus in particular from God, when Solomon says "anyone reaching out his hands toward this house", such an act on the altar might have been included in a form of the prayer. Surely, it was not the only format flimsy religious ceremony which was immobilized. Such flimsy religious ceremony would have be done in the times of Jeremiah and Isaiah already; that was the reality of the temple. And that was the reason which a "house of prayer" was stressed.

We must not miss that Luke wished the people of church to hear this. For the church does not fall into place to enforce a mere religious ritual. He would have superimposed the church to the temple.


Ⅲ Countdown to the cross

First of all, since when Israel came out of Egypt, temple had been based on the tabernacle; they had worshiped God in it, and carried it all the time during their wandering the wilderness. However, while they have a wandering life, it was good, but when they settled in Palestine, they wanted the place of worship which was immobilized inevitably. It was needed the place to enshrine "the ark of God", it contained the slate which engraved the Ten Commandments. And, that awe-inspiring place of worship was also the paraphernalia to show that they were the chosen people of God. Surely, Israel played the ranks of the national culture by making a kingdom, but probably, pagan temple in around Canaan would have seemed like a symbol of the national culture. Therefor, they wished the more good temple, and it was realized finally at the time of Solomon. So, magnificent Jerusalem temple was regarded not to be able to compare with Synagogu, and it became the spiritual home of the Jews, a central location. Indeed, it was a house of God dwells, for them. There were also small temples (not Synagogu) in a rural, but those were like a model of the temple of Jerusalem; so, for a Jewish in a rural or a Jewish convert of foreigner, the worship in the temple of Jerusalem would have been like the manifestation of faith. The prayer of Solomon, "if anyone comes to the temple or pray towards the temple, God He will hear it"; such faith was supposed to grow up in Israel through the temple.

However, the faith saying that God is listening it and is seeing it was missing admirably, from the consciousness of the chief priests. Jesus had pointed out the problem of faith stance of the legalism of Pharisees which was responsible for religious education of Jewish until now, through Shinagogu, but now, it may be said that He has pointed out a similar problem, about the priest who should foster the Jewish faith through the temple, too. For them, things of God did not matter. They only hoped that their ideas and principles and benefits of authority passes. Three group leaders, chief priests, scribes and leaders of the people, had configured the Sanhidorin Congress, but Jesus has challenged their authority without God. In fact, for them, this was a chance to return to the faith and repent; but, nobody did not object to them openly until now; so, perhaps, they would have considered it is not possible to recover the vested interests without killing Jesus. At last, they began to aim to kill Jesus. It may be said that Jerusalem marching of Jesus had increased the degree of tension at a stretch. In the meantime, because there were the popularity of whimsical people and junior priest with antipathy to tyranny of senior priest, the chief priests and pharisees were not able to do anything, but it was just a few days. Countdown to the Cross began.




.