Selwyn looks at Jesus’ dramatic cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. Jesus is clearly challenging the authority of the High Priest and other priestly families who had allowed the Court of the Gentiles in the Temple to be used for commercial purposes (and, most likelyÂ there was some form of financial gain for them to allow this practice)Â such that prayer was no longerÂ possible. Jesus’ focus was to ensure that (Mark 11:17): ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.’
Â As he says in his conclusion: “Jesus was not against the Jewish religion, but human religion – or rather human ideas about religion. He (Jesus) cleansed the Temple not because it was Jewish, but because it was corrupt.” The priestly families had thought so little of the Gentiles that they had allowed the temple area which was set aside for Gentiles, to be used for other purposes. Here Jesus is saying that Gentiles have a place in His temple!
I think it’s important to keep in mind that Jesus’ authority to cleanse the temple comes from the fact that He is God. We have the various creeds which give us the concept of the Trinity regarding three persons – one God. We may understand this construct but we don’t understand the precise nature of God. I think many theologians make this mistake. They can define and describe the Trinity in great detail – they can point to all the verses which help form the construct of the Trinity. Yet all this work does not describe the exact nature of the one, true God – we cannot, this side of the grave,Â fully comprehend whatÂ it is, when we say – ‘three persons, one God’. Can it be any clearer than Deuteronomy 4:35, “You were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God; besides him there is no other.” In summary, Jesus is God, besides Him there is no other!
The main reason I’m mentioning this point is that many people, especially members of some sects want to formulate beliefs where some of these mysteries (such as the Trinity) are either done away with, or simplified into something, which the human mind can understand. I’ll put it like this, what God represents stretches further than the distance from one end of this universe to the other. The Bible gives an insight into about a millimetre of all there is to know about God, but it is enough to get us safely through life’s journey and reach our true home. It is sheer arrogance to think we can ever know more than this – and it becomes a question of trust where we reach the point, when we can say: “I don’t need to know any more than what’s in the Bible.”
Finally, I’ll repeat, all we need to know is contained in the verses of the Bible; from verse Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. Jesus is the perfection of all the prophets; after Him, there is no need for any other prophets.Â In respect to other religions and sects, I understand many will not accept what I’ve just written – we will just have to agree, to disagree. In addition, He is the perfect High Priest – there is no need for any other ‘high’ priests. He is the final, perfect Temple – and, we don’t have to go to a special city to worship Him (John 4:21), Jesus declared, “Believe me woman (the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well), a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. …” There are no special ‘holy’ places. God should be worshipped ‘everywhere’! Do you agree?