[forthright] What Jesus Sees

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Mon, 03 Sep 2007 09:55:32 -0300
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Straight to the Cross

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COLUMN: FINAL PHASE

What Jesus Sees
by J. Randal Matheny, editor

   "Then Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to
   the temple. And after looking around at
   everything, he went out to Bethany with
   the twelve since it was already late."
                              Mark 11:11 NET

After his arrival riding on a colt and cheered by
the multitude, Jesus went directly to the temple.
No feast-time tourism, nor burnt sacrifices for
him, however.

Only Mark mentions that Jesus arrived at the
temple, looked around at everything and left
immediately to spend the night in Bethany, likely
at Lazarus's house. He cites the lateness of the
hour for Jesus' quick exit.

But if the hour was so late, why go to the temple
in the first place? The answer comes the following
day.

The next day, Jesus purifies the temple by chasing
out the moneychangers. His action suggests that
the previous day's observation was to verify if
the temple was "fufilling its divinely appointed
mission."/1

He had done it before, early on in his ministry.
Now, at its end, as his sacrificial death neared,
he would do it again, if need be.

As always, mankind had perverted the purpose for
which the temple had been built. Just as they'd
done with the Law of Moses.

So Jesus needs to see. And Mark uses a compound
word that only he uses (3:5, 24; 5:32; 9:8;
10:23), besides one time in Luke (6:10):
"periblepo", to look around.

He takes it all in. The pilgrims come from afar,
to participate in the feast. The bleating and
braying of the animals. The exchange tables set
strategically in the temple precincts. The lines
of worshipers for animal-defect inspections.

And he knows. This is not what my Father planned.
He didn't mean for it to become a marketplace, a
cheating stage, a public plaza for business, but a
sacred meeting ground, the sandal-off, barefoot
holiness of the presence of God.

Why bother now? His hour has almost arrived. This
sacrificial system will soon dissolve as God's way
to heaven. So why create yet another scene, now
when the temple is on its last leg, to be
abandoned forever and, in a few years, destroyed
physically as well?

Because this is what he does. He cleanses the
filthy. He rages against the unholy. He cries out
against every man-made barrier erected against
intimacy with God.

He sees for himself. And he cannot but take
action.

By cleansing of the temple he foreshadows the
cross. But the looking around and decision to
purify the grounds are themselves valid actions as
yet another acted proclamation of the divine
dissatisfaction and the heavenly remedy.

Jesus came to fix hearts. And before the fix, he
looks around at everything, inside the human
psyche, penetrating every dark corner, observing
each hidden pain, each moral failure, each fleeing
fear.

Yes, he sees it all.

The hour is late. He comes again to the space of
our heart, presents himself to cleanse the filth,
to purify the compromised, to restore the
forgotten purpose. He comes to prepare a man or a
woman for divine habitation.

Will he encounter resistance?
_______
1/ Walter W. Wessell, "Mark," Expositor's Bible
Commentary, 8: 725.

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