Books of the Book: Mark

Cleansing The Temple / Cleansing The Heart

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Kevin Hart, Tom Shepherd


Series Code: MBOTB

Program Code: MBOTB00009A

00:21 Welcome to Books of the Book!
00:23 What's the worst thing about your church?
00:25 Do not get me started you say to yourself and do you
00:28 know why because a lot of Christians would complain
00:30 that the worst thing about their church is hypocrisy.
00:32 In fact it is the one thing that the world often uses
00:34 as an argument against joining a church.
00:37 It is that they look at us and say we are hypocrites.
00:39 God forbid that, you know it may surprise you that Jesus
00:42 not only have something to say about hypocrisy, but He
00:45 actually did something about it too.
00:47 Today we have with us professor Tom Shepherd.
00:50 He is a professor at Andrews University.
00:53 He teaches New Testament Interpretation.
00:55 Welcome Professor - good nice to be with you.
00:58 What is it like teaching at Andrews?
00:59 Oh it is a joy actually.
01:01 I taught for 13 years at Union College in
01:04 Lincoln Nebraska, then I was asked to come join the
01:06 seminary at Andrews University.
01:09 I start teaching graduate students, they have a
01:12 fantastic library for doing research and a wonderful
01:16 college to work with so it's a great joy and opportunity
01:19 for teaching in my field of New Testament.
01:22 It sounds like a pleasure - yeah!
01:24 Not only do you get to learn and broaden your knowledge,
01:27 but you get to share it - yeah!
01:28 Yet is pretty special, well today we are going to
01:30 look in the gospel of Mark chapter 11 and read about
01:34 2 very unusual things that Jesus did, perhaps the
01:39 most unusual things in the gospel of Mark at all.
01:42 So let's open to Mark chapter 11 and we are going to
01:45 read verses 12 to 19, and I will read verses 12 to 14,
01:50 and you can read verses 15 through 19- okay!
01:53 Mark chapter 11 starting in verse 12, "on the next day
01:58 when they had left Bethany he became hungry. Seen at a
02:03 distance of fig tree in leave, he went to see if perhaps He
02:07 would find anything on it. And when he came to it he found
02:11 nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs.
02:15 He said to it, may no one ever eat fruit from you
02:20 again, and His disciples were listening. "
02:23 Kevin: "And they came to Jerusalem and Jesus
02:25 went into the temple and began to
02:27 cast out them that sold and bought in the temple
02:30 and overthrew the tables of the money changers and the
02:33 seats of them that sold doves. And would not suffer
02:37 that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
02:40 And he taught saying unto them, is it not written my
02:44 house shall be called of all nations the house of
02:47 prayer, that ye have made it a den of thieves.
02:50 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how
02:53 they might destroy him for they feared him because all the
02:56 people were astonished at his doctrine.
02:58 And when evening was come they went out of the city. "
03:01 Tom: So did you see anything unusual there?
03:04 Yeah couple of things, you have this poor fig tree
03:06 that gets cursed and then people seem to be in the
03:09 temple where they are supposed to be, it's a good
03:11 thing to be at the temple, but Jesus comes in and
03:14 throws everybody out and turns over the tables and
03:16 I'm wondering what's going on here?
03:18 Tom: yeah it's really unusual, a strange kind of event.
03:21 He does 2 strange actions, like you said, He curses this
03:26 fig tree and then He cleanses the temple,
03:30 or clears it out and throws, He starts overturning
03:33 tables and things like this so we wondered just
03:36 what is going on in this experience.
03:40 And one would have to wonder because we don't usually
03:41 associate Jesus with what would appear to be losing His
03:45 temper - yeah, basically a bad hair day or something.
03:49 Got up in the morning and He was hungry so He kinds of
03:55 curses the fig tree and that doesn't do enough so He
03:58 goes in the temple and starts throwing tables around.
04:01 Kevin: Well let's find out what's going on.
04:02 Tom: very unusual, so first we look at another one
04:07 of the sandwich stories in the gospel of Mark.
04:09 The story of the cleansing of the temple is surrounded
04:13 by the story of the cursing of this fig tree.
04:17 So we start to think, we have seen before that
04:20 these sandwich stories interpret one another in
04:23 some kind of ironic way.
04:26 So we think there must be some kind of connection
04:28 between the cursing of the fig tree and the cleansing
04:31 of the temple and that is what we will kind of unpack
04:33 as we go through this.
04:34 So we go back and we take a look first at Jesus says
04:37 He's coming in the morning and He's hungry.
04:40 He sees a fig tree in the distance, and now it
04:44 wasn't wrong, as we said before for, you to take and
04:48 eat something to satisfy your hunger.
04:49 That was not against the law so nobody would try
04:53 to arrest Him for stealing figs or something
04:56 from somebody's tree.
04:57 This was probably late April of 31 A.D.
05:03 In that area, around Jerusalem the fig trees start
05:09 to put out leaves in late March and early April,
05:13 but they really don't have ripe fruit until June.
05:18 So this was several months probably before you
05:23 would expect them, and Mark says it wasn't
05:26 the season for figs.
05:28 The best that you could hope for might be some green
05:31 figs, and so Jesus searches for this.
05:36 Kevin: which might not even be that tasty.
05:38 When we lived in Malawi, in Africa, the mangoes would
05:42 come into season, I think around November or December.
05:45 It was south of the equator and people would eat green
05:50 mangoes - Kevin: okay!
05:51 You could even make something called a green mango
05:54 sauce that you would have on toast.
05:56 Kevin: never had it, but I loved mangoes though.
05:57 Tom: but you had to put a lot of sugar in it though
05:58 because it would be kind of bitter, they were edible.
06:01 So you might have something like that with these figs.
06:04 Kevin: but this was quite early.
06:06 Tom: this was early on and so He searches for it
06:09 and He doesn't find anything.
06:11 There are 3 strange things about what He does.
06:14 Well first of all He is talking to a tree, and I don't
06:19 know when the last time was you've talk to tree.
06:22 Kevin: I don't know maybe when I was 3 years old,
06:24 I don't remember that far back.
06:26 Tom: it's not something you usually do to talk to
06:27 trees and the second thing is it says it is
06:32 not the time of figs.
06:33 So why talk to this tree, why curse it if it's just doing?
06:42 Kevin: poor fig tree. Tom: poor fig tree, it's doing
06:45 what it is supposed to be doing and then He curses it.
06:47 This is the only time we have in the gospel of Mark
06:51 where He pronounces a curse.
06:53 We know over in the gospel of Matthew that He speaks
06:57 woes on the Pharisees, that's maybe close to a
07:00 curse but it is... Kevin: not quite the same thing.
07:02 Tom: this is really powerful and strange.
07:05 It seems as though there is more going on here
07:09 then He is just angry because He's hungry, there is some
07:14 kind of, you might say, a lesson going on.
07:17 The tree had leaves but it didn't have fruit.
07:23 The tree had leaves but no fruit.
07:26 We remember from other places were Jesus talks about
07:31 a good tree produces good fruit.
07:34 A tree that doesn't produce fruit - is worthless!
07:39 Tom: is worthless, it really has a show of production,
07:44 but it doesn't produce anything and that is
07:47 a symbol of hypocrisy.
07:49 Kevin: we have, I'm sorry to interrupt you, it just
07:52 reminds me of my wife and I we had a house up in
07:55 New York that had a lot of acreage around it.
07:56 On that acreage we had a bunch of apple trees,
07:58 apparently it used to be an apple orchard and
08:01 when they cut down most trees they left a few trees
08:04 I was excited that there was a few trees left on the property.
08:07 But you know that every single year that I
08:09 passed by I never saw one apple, well one year
08:11 I saw one apple come but it was a little tiny one
08:12 like this, nothing worth eating.
08:14 And that really frustrated me that there was these
08:16 apparently good looking trees that weren't producing any fruit
08:18 Tom: yeah, now a tree that doesn't produce fruit it's
08:22 not giving what it is expected, it has a show, it has
08:25 leaves, but it doesn't have a fruit that you expect.
08:28 Now that would represent hypocrisy on a human level.
08:32 Jesus is personifying this tree and we have
08:35 a graphic here that illustrates, or gives
08:38 a definition of hypocrisy.
08:53 Tom: and so this fig tree is a hypocritical tree.
08:57 Jesus had a big problem with hypocrisy.
09:01 I would like to look at another verse with you.
09:04 It is over in the gospel of Matthew, hold here in
09:06 Mark somehow, but we turn over to Matthew
09:09 chapter 12:33-37 and we will read about what
09:20 Jesus said about hypocrisy.
09:21 Matthew 12:33-37 you want to read that for us - sure!
09:25 Kevin: "either make the tree good and his fruit good
09:28 or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt.
09:31 For the tree is known by his fruit. Oh generation of
09:34 vipers how can ye being evil speak good things?
09:38 For out of the abundance of a heart the mouth speaketh.
09:40 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth
09:44 forth good things. And an evil man out of an evil
09:46 treasure bringeth forth evil things, but I say unto
09:50 you that every idle word that men shall speak,
09:52 they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
09:55 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy
09:58 words thy shalt be condemned. "
10:00 Tom: alright, Jesus said, how can you who are evil
10:03 do that which is good or say that which is good?
10:07 Being evil speak what is good, He thought that
10:13 doesn't make sense.
10:14 Now you may say, pastor I know a lot of people
10:16 like that, I see them in church, I see them on TV,
10:20 I know politicians that are like that maybe,
10:22 and so you say, this just seems like a common place.
10:28 It's just everywhere that we find this kind of
10:30 hypocrisy, well Jesus had difficulty with hypocrisy
10:34 because He believed a person was in unity and that
10:39 what you are on the inside, should be reflected on
10:42 how you act on the outside.
10:44 So when people tried to butter Him up, or say things
10:48 that were really different than the way they thought
10:51 inside, He had great difficulty with it.
10:52 Kevin: and usually time will tell what kind of person
10:55 is, the problem is what happens in between the time,
10:58 you know in between the time and the damages that's done.
11:00 Tom: truth will come out - right!
11:03 Tom: It will come out, now back to Mark 11.
11:05 This gives us a little insight to what is going on
11:08 with this tree and where Jesus is going.
11:09 The next thing He does is go into a Jerusalem and
11:13 enters the temple, and it says He begins to drive out
11:17 those who are buying and selling in the temple.
11:20 And overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the
11:23 seats of those that were selling doves.
11:25 Now you probably wonder, this is odd.
11:30 They were selling things in the temple,
11:34 How could that be?
11:37 Kevin: why did He have to cleanse it?
11:38 Tom: yeah why did He have to clean it out,
11:40 what was happening? Kevin: was it dirty?
11:42 Actually the work cleansed is not used there,
11:46 it is kind of a terminology we added in there because
11:49 some people don't think He was cleansing it at all.
11:52 But what was happening was about 30 A. D. it seems
11:56 the high priest, Caiaphas, allowed those who were
12:00 selling animals for sacrifice to bring into part
12:06 of the temple, booths, or what ever they were selling, doves.
12:09 They were selling animals and they always had people who
12:12 were changing money because you couldn't use a certain
12:16 kind of coin that they wouldn't allow in the temple.
12:19 They had to use this other kind of coin.
12:21 Now the temple had several different parts to it.
12:27 There was a big temple itself that had two sections
12:30 called the most holy place in the holy place.
12:32 Only the priests went in there.
12:35 Then there was a court for priests and then there
12:38 was a court of Israel where people could pray and
12:41 then beyond that wall there was another court called
12:44 the court of the Gentiles.
12:45 In Gentiles who wanted to come to the temple that
12:48 was as far as they could go if they have not
12:51 converted to Judaism.
12:52 There was a sign that was listed there in the temple that said
12:55 that if they went past this they could be killed.
12:56 So these were sacred precincts and it was a place for
13:01 prayer, but the only place the Gentiles could pray
13:03 would be in this outer court.
13:05 It seems that the temple had allowed these people to
13:11 come in and start selling things and exchanging money,
13:13 so you are trying to pray and they are bargaining over
13:17 the price of an animal and changing coins.
13:20 Kevin: it sounds like noisy place.
13:21 I mean they didn't have dollar bills which are fairly
13:24 quiet when you pass one to another, but when you
13:26 have a bunch of coins that you are dealing with.
13:27 And I'm sure people drop a coin now and then, that can
13:30 be pretty distracting, not to mention the bleating of
13:32 the goats and the other stuff going on there, cooing
13:34 of the doves and all that.
13:36 Tom: so Jesus comes in here and this is very
13:41 disturbing to Him, so what does He do about it?
13:45 Well He starts to turn things over, throw people out,
13:50 and drive out animals, and He wouldn't let people
13:54 carry things through.
13:55 It just seems so unusual.
13:59 Kevin: which indicates that they must have been
14:00 doing this for quite some time.
14:02 Tom: yeah, they had been probably at least a year
14:05 that this had been going on.
14:07 Kevin: let's kind of hold this thought because we have
14:09 to take a break, but this is a pivot point where we are
14:13 going to find out why He was doing this, and what else
14:15 was going on in the temple, and what it all meant.
14:18 So do not go away, we will be back shortly with
14:21 Books of the Book.


Revised 2014-12-17