(April 6, 2020)

Mark 11:15-17 “And they came to Jerusalem. Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons, and he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the Temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, ‘Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a hideout of revolutionaries.’”

After Jesus’ triumphal and “unexpected” entry into the City of the Jewish King, He overturned the money-changers tables, thereby effectively halting the entire sacrificial system. The people there (often translated as a “den of robbers”) were zealous Jews who had a strong nationalistic pride in Israel. They were ready to pick up arms to bring about those dreams. A passion for the right worship of God makes sense to us, but here is the problem: the whole point of God choosing Israel out of all the nations of the world was so that, as Isaiah says, Israel would be a light to the nations. The descendants of Abraham were to bless the whole world. Blessing the world is antithetical to making war against them. The Temple had become not a symbol of God’s love for all the nations, but God’s exclusion of them. So Jesus put a stop to it.

We have focused so much attention on “salvation by faith alone” that we often overlook that faith and repentance go hand-in-hand. When Jesus began His public ministry, He did not simply call people to faith; He said, “repent and believe.” The “hideout of revolutionaries” certainly believed; but where is their humility, their gentleness, their repentance? The lack of confession leaves a worldview that Jesus rebukes.

Where do we need to confess? Who do we exclude due to our faith? Where do we need to change? We do not even know what would a robust and thorough confession for the Body would look like, do we? How do we so easily go about our days without even giving confession much thought to what was critical for following Jesus in the first place?

Are we really that much in need of confession? Yes. We are so off base that Jesus had to die on Friday. But take heart, for the Good News is that “the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve—and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45)

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Father, what would you like to open my eyes to about myself today? Would You show me the state of my heart more clearly? What would a full confession of the church even look like? …Draw us closer to You this Holy Week, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.