And they come to Jerusalem: and he entered into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and them that bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves; and he would not suffer that any man should carry a vessel through the temple. And he taught, and said unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? but ye have made it a den of robbers. And the chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, for all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.
Insights: So far this week we have broken down each element of this passage and looked at them separately and know what each does. Now, like backing a camera picture further back, we are going to see the big picture. To help us do that we are going to look at the temple geographically today and tomorrow see how this fits into the final piece of the big picture. The temple mound is on the east side of Jerusalem. Its east wall is one of the cities exterior walls. For all practical purposes the temple mound lays north and south and is rectangular in shape. There are multiple gate entrances into the temple mound and one would have to travel through the court of the gentiles to get to the actual temple. This gentile court went all around the temple. The temple itself was located in the center of the temple mound and it faced east and west. It is also rectangular in shape. Typically one wound enter the temple mound through the southern gates and go through the money-changers located in the gentile court. As they were heading to the temple itself, they would move toward the eastern side of the temple mound and enter the temple from the east. The first court one would walk into would be the court of women, then the court of men, then the court of priests, then the holy place and finally the holy of holies. The court of the gentiles is a very open area (minus all of the money-changers) and people would often use the temple mound as a cut through from one part of the city to another because it would be faster than working oneself through the city proper. The court of the gentiles was full of animals to help worship be more efficient. Everything about this layout points to speed, not relationship. The people were in too big of a hurry to worship God.
- Are you ever in too much of a hurry to worship properly?
- Do you ever attempt to be more efficient than effective?
Prayer: Father, You tell us to be still and know You are God. Help my heart to know its need for worship and slow down. Amen.