We are back in Mark’s gospel this week. As we continue the story of Jesus, it is Monday of Holy Week and Jesus has entered the Temple.
3 Simple Questions for individuals and Small Groups:
1. How did the Holy Spirit use this week’s sermon to convict you?
2. How did the Holy Spirit use this week’s sermon to encourage you?
3. What is one thing you will do this week in response to the sermon?
Going Deeper with your group:
Read Mark 11:12-25:
A. Jesus condemns the temple.
1. Often we call this story the “Cleansing of the Temple.” But Jesus is not cleaning up the temple, he is condemning it. We see this in three ways:
a. The cursing of the fig tree (11:12-14; 20-21).
b. Jesus’ actions in the temple- he shut down the sacrificial system.
c. Jesus prayer that the Temple Mount would fall into the sea (11:23).
Why would this incident be shocking to Jesus’ disciples and the Jewish people?
2. We said that Jesus condemned the temple for three reasons:
a) Consumerism- they made the temple about meeting their own needs.
b) Cultural elitism- they prevented Gentiles from worshipping (blocking the Court of Gentiles with their marketplace).
c) Comfort- They ignored the poor and needy and did not provide justice.
Which of these stands out to you? Do you think Jesus was too harsh? Why or why not?
B. Jesus embodies the temple.
3. Read John 1:1-2 (remember that the word “dwelt” means “tabernacle”). Read John 2:18-21. In what way does the incarnation (God becoming man) become the new temple of God on earth?
4. The fig tree is a parable for the temple, but the temple is also a parable for all of us (humanity). Jesus not only condemns the temple (remember he is God), but he will also absorb God’s condemning wrath against the temple. Read 2 Corinthians 5:21. What does this mean for your personally? For us as a church?
C. Jesus creates a new, holy temple.
5. Re-read Mark 11:22-25. How does Jesus hint toward a new spiritual reality which will replace the physical temple?
6. Read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17. Have you ever thought through the truth that we are God’s new and holy temple? What makes this idea difficult for you? How does it encourage you?
7. Read Hebrews 10:11-14. What does verse 14 teach us about our holiness? Why is this balance so important to understand in the Christian life?
(Notice: “has perfected for all time” - past tense, and “being sanctified” – present tense).
D. How should we live?
8. Jesus tells the disciples to “Have faith in God.” They just heard that their whole center of faith and forgiveness is going away. What will they do? Will they have faith? Jesus is pointing them to his work on the cross (only 4 days away). To have faith in God is to have faith in salvation through Jesus (not the temple).
Do you have faith in God’s saving work through Jesus’ death on the cross? Do you believe that this saving work brings God’s love, and presence, and goodness to you? What makes this faith difficult?
9. Having faith in God means we help each other to confront our idols. Can you identify any idols that have crept into your life (consumerism, cultural superiority, comfort, traditions, etc.)
10. We talked about ways that we can have faith as a community:
a) Honor each other.
b) Pursue outsiders.
c) Pray together.
d) Forgive each other.
Which of these stands out to you? What is one commitment you can make this week to practice faith in one of these ways?