MARK 11:15



The Bible says in Mark 11:15-17, “And they came to Jerusalem; and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not permit that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? But you have made it a den of thieves.” In the Bible the great temple is the last physical building that is called the house of God. In this passage Jesus called it the house of prayer.


Many things changed once the New Testament came into being. One of those things was the significance of the temple. Once the temple was destroyed, it no longer had a part in the worship of God. It’s pretty amazing that over two thousand years have passed, and another temple has not been constructed. That’s because God has not permitted it to be constructed. The temple in Jerusalem symbolized the presence of God. Now in the times of the New Testament and in the age of the church there is another place where we are to think of the presence of God being symbolized.


The body of each believer is now the temple of God. Jesus was the first one to teach that the human body is the temple of God. Jesus said in John 2:19, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Jesus was talking about the temple of His body. Christians are told very clearly in First Corinthians 3:16-17, “Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are


If you are a believer in Christ, the only temple that exists for you is the temple of your body. Christ in you, the hope of glory. There is no building and there is no place where you must go in order to be closer to God. If you have received Christ as Savior, the way to get closer to God is to get closer to Christ who is within you. In the day and age in which we live there is no building or physical place or geographical location that symbolizes the presence of God. “God is a spirit, and they that worship God must worship Him in spirit and in truth 


But during the times of the Old Testament and during the life of Christ there was a place that symbolized the presence of God on the earth. That place was the temple. In our day it’s important what happens with your body and what you do with it. It’s not a minor issue. It’s a very important issue. You will be judged by God for what you allowed to take place with your body. When the temple existed, the same was true with that building in Jerusalem. Jesus would not permit the wrong things to take place in the temple while He was there. The purpose of the temple was spiritual activity: primarily prayer. Jesus said that the temple should be “called of all nations the house of prayer  


The Bible says in Mark 11:18, “And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.” In the previous verse Jesus said that the temple had become a den of thieves. Now we see why. The people who were the leaders of the temple were not spiritually minded. They were not even normal decent human beings. Led by their own jealousy and anxiety, the scribes and the chief priests began to plot the death of Jesus. They viewed Jesus as a competitor because He taught things that they did not teach, and no one could teach like Jesus. The common people loved His words and heard Him gladly. The selfish power-hungry people opposed Him. It is still like that. The wise and humble people of the earth love the teachings of Jesus. The proud and the selfish turn away from Him and even oppose Him to their own eventual destruction.


The Bible says in Mark 11:19-21, “And when even was come, He went out of the city. And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance said unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which you cursed is withered away.” It is no coincidence that this incident with the fig tree happened just as the leaders of Israel had made up their minds once and for all to oppose and to murder the Messiah. No mere mortal can oppose God and win. The fig tree had withered away at the command of Jesus because it bore no fruit. In the same way and for the same reason Israel and Jerusalem and the temple were set aside by God no longer to be used by Him in the great work of spreading the truth.


Instead of the nation of Israel, instead of the law, and instead of the temple worship Jesus was now instituting a new way that the people of God would follow to serve God on the earth: the principle of faith. Jesus wanted people to stop thinking about holy places or holy geographical locations. Now the emphasis is all about how much faith you have wherever you are. The Bible says in Mark 11:22, “And Jesus answering said unto them, Have faith in God.” Jesus changed the emphasis. It is not ritual. It is not ceremony. It is not tradition. It is not law. It is not organized religion. It is faith that matters. “This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.” “The just shall live by faith.” “We are saved by grace through faith.” Guard your faith. Find ways to nurture and increase your faith. Avoid things that attack or harm your faith. There is nothing more important than precious faith.


In the next few verses of the Bible Jesus said several things about faith that are important to remember. Jesus said in Mark 11:23-24, “For verily I say unto you, that whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he says. Therefore, I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” In order to illustrate the power of faith Jesus chose perhaps the most immovable object of all: a mountain, and Jesus said that even a mountain could be moved by one person who has faith. That makes faith one of the most powerful things in the world. It’s no wonder that Jesus wanted His disciples to remember the importance of faith. If you are not living by faith and if you are not using your faith, then you are just limping along in life. You are missing out on the victory and the power that Jesus said could be in your life if only you had faith.


Of course, faith is one of the most important ingredients in prayer: real prayer, effectual prayer. Jesus said, “When you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.” One reason that some people do not have the desires of their heart is because they have the wrong desires. For other people it is because they do not pray. “You have not because you ask not.” And for others who do pray, it is because they do not pray with faith believing. Faith means that you have confidence in the ever-present, all-powerful God, and in His Word.


Faith is not the only requirement to seeing your prayers answered. There are others. Jesus said in Mark 11:25-26, “And when you stand praying, forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” If you want to see your prayers answered, you must have a forgiving heart. God is merciful and forgiving towards you. You would not even be able to pray if God was not merciful to you. Jesus went to the horrible death on the cross in order to give you mercy.


One reason that Jesus mentioned this requirement of being forgiving towards others is because it will be a common experience in the average person’s life to need to show mercy to others. All human beings are sinners. The people that you know and who are around you are sinners. They will fail from time to time. They will sin against God, and they will sin against you probably. You will do the same. If you are not forgiving, then you will live in constant bitterness or self-righteousness. You need God to be forgiving towards you, and thus you should forgive others. You also need to have your effective prayers. Jesus implied that if you want to see answers to your prayers, then you must forgive others.


Again, we see Jesus in the temple. This is the third time that Mark mentions Jesus being in the temple during the last week of His life. When He is there, once again the opposition of the religious leaders is pointed out. The Bible says in Mark 11:27-33, “And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders. And say unto him, By what authority are you doing these things? And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? Answer me. And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say from heaven; he will say, why then did you not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed. And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering said unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things


The religious leaders questioned the authority that Jesus had. They knew that Jesus had authority. That was obvious. The authority that Jesus had came from His words, His actions, and His character. The religious leaders had no such moral authority, and they did not have the words, the actions, or the character that would have given them such authority. The only authority that the religious leaders had was based upon their position in the religious organization. If you are a servant of God, your authority comes from God. You do not need the approval of man.


Jesus knew that the religious leaders were not making an inquiry into His credentials. They were just looking to find fault. These phony religious leaders were just like many of the politicians and reporters of our day. They were not after the truth: they were trying to make Jesus look bad. That was a foolish goal. How could a mere mortal stand up against the Almighty Son of God? Jesus answers the questions of those who are truth seekers; but He does not do so for the religious self-righteous ones. Instead of answering their question, He asked them one. Instead of them trapping Him, he trapped them, and they were afraid to answer.


Mark chapter 12 starts with a parable in which Jesus makes it clear one more time that the nation of Israel had made a terrible mistake in rejecting the Messiah. The Bible says in Mark 12:1-11, “And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country. And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard. And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty. And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled. And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some. Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, they will reverence my son. But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be our’s. And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others. And have you not read this scripture; the stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner: This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes


The vineyard is the earth. The owner of the vineyard is God. The hired servants (the husbandmen) were the nation of Israel and its leaders, who were given the opportunity and the responsibility of bringing God’s truth to the world. The ones who were sent, and then who were beaten and killed, were the prophets. The well-beloved son was Jesus, the Son of God. The well-beloved son was rejected and cast out. But God has turned the tables. That which man has rejected, God has established. Speaking of Jesus, the Bible says in this passage, “The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner.” There is no meaningful worship of God, and there is no true spirituality unless it is centered on the Lord Jesus Christ. 




Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved