Using Mark 11:1-11 for his text, he recounted the story of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. What caught my attention in particular was his comment on Mark 11:11. While Jesus entered Jerusalem as the Messianic savior, when he visited the temple he just “looked around at everything” and went home. Dean raised an intriguing question: what did Jesus see?
As we know, Jesus became a “testy guest” (to use Dean’s phrase) in Jerusalem that week. He questioned the authorities, scandalized the teachers, debated the Pharisees, announced the destruction of the temple, and “cleaned house” (another Deanism). In effect, he inspected the fruit of Jerusalem and found it wanting. Just as he ecountered the barren fig tree on his way into Jerusalem and cursed it, so also Jerusalem–despite its regal temple and courtyards, despite its air of religiousity, despite its learning in Scriptures–lacked God’s heart. They knew the Scriptures, but they did not know what “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” meant. There was no fruit, no mercy. Their temple was a “den of robbers”–a hiding place for sinners–rather than a place for prayer and devotion to God for the nations.
Only a few bright spots emerged in that final week. A widow gave all she had though others were only making a show of their wealth as they gave out of their abundance. Mary showed her devotion to Jesus by anointing his head with expensive oil. On the whole, however, Jerusalem–just like its temple–needed cleansing.
It gives me pause to mediate. When Jesus enters my heart, what does he see?
As I walk through Passion Week over the next few days, I will read the Compline Prayers for Holy Week and Easter as well as follow the Divine Hours of the week. These thoughts will guide my meditation as I search out my own heart. Is my heart more like the squabbling and squawking teachers of the law or is it more like the selflessness of the widow and the devotion of the one who anointed Jesus?