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Jesus entered Jerusalem, and a crowd of people welcomed Him enthusiastically. After his entry, Jesus first cleansed the temple. Conflicts between Jesus and the leaders at that time were becoming more intense. Jesus used the parable to imply his death on the cross. The death and resurrection of Jesus implies that a new era, the age of the Church, was about to come, and that is the theme of this message. First, please read Mark 11:15-18.
Offering animals as sacrifices was the center of worship at the temple in Jerusalem. In the outer garden, which was called the Gentile courts, animals for sacrifice were sold, and there seemed to be a lot of money changers’ stands to pay temple taxes and donations.
‘On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’ ”(verse 15-17)
The temple should be a house of prayer. This word is taken from Isaiah 56:7. It is such a beautiful promise here that God’s grace is given to all who serve Him. If you are interested, please open and read Isaiah 56:4-8. However, the problem is that in the Gentile court, there were a lot of people doing business unfairly and part of the temple has become a place full of unfair profit. We would like to remember that Jesus’ cleansing of the temple was an act of the restoration of its original purpose so that not only Jews but also Gentiles can worship true God.
After this, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to Jesus and asked “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you authority to do this?” Please read Mark 11:27-33. These things directly refer to the cleansing of the temple. The chief priest, the teachers of the law, and the elders were members of Sanhedrin, Congress at that time, but Jesus replied to these leaders by asking this question. “John’s baptism—was it from heaven, or of human origin? Tell me!” Let’s read the rest and see their response. They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’ …” (They feared the people, for everyone held that John really was a prophet.) So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Jesus said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” (Mark 11:29-33 )
Jesus knew that they did not ask such questions for truth. Leaders at that time only considered the security of their position. They were reluctant to acknowledge the truth. Even though the Savior was right in front of them, they were more interested in excluding him rather than accepting him.
Jesus began to speak to them with a parable. Please read Mark 12:1-12. It is a parable of the vineyard owner renting the vineyard to some farmers and he went on a journey. The vineyard here refers to Israel. The owner sent his servants to the farmers to receive the share of the vineyard harvest. The servants refer to the Old Testament prophet and John the Baptist. These farmers seized the servants and beat them and sent them away empty-handed. They also beat other servants and killed them. You might have noticed that many prophets and John the Baptist were also treated like that. ‘Yet he had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.” (Verse 6 )
Unfortunately, the farmers caught and killed the son and threw him out of the vineyards. Jesus continued, “What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.” (Verse 9)
This is a parable so it should be read as a parable, but in this parable Jesus’ death on the cross and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD is included.
And today’s scripture is spoken here, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.”
In here, the death and resurrection of Jesus is indicated. This scripture is a quote from the Psalm 118:22, 23. The abandoned stone seemed to have no value for the people at that time, and the cornerstone is the foundation of the building so it means very important and valuable stone. Jesus is the one who was abandoned and killed by the Jews, and being resurrected, becoming the foundation of the church, and being at the center of the church. In the midst of worship, the presence of Jesus is there among a group of believers. We want to remember today that Jesus became the cornerstone of our lives, and let’s give thanks to Him together for that!