2019年11月21日
再次到訪耶路撒冷

粵語 國語

第21天


讀經:   

約翰福音二章12至17節

12這事以後,耶穌與他的母親、弟兄和門徒都下迦百農去,在那裡住了不多幾日。

13猶太人的逾越節近了,耶穌就上耶路撒冷去。

14看見殿裡有賣牛、羊、鴿子的,並有兌換銀錢的人坐在那裡。

15耶穌就拿繩子做成鞭子,把牛羊都趕出殿去,倒出兌換銀錢之人的銀錢,推翻他們的桌子。

16又對賣鴿子的說:“把這些東西拿去!不要將我父的殿當作買賣的地方。”

17他的門徒就想起經上記著說:“我為你的殿,心裡焦急,如同火燒。”

基督又走了一百多公里,回到耶路撒冷守逾越節。所有的男性猶太人,每年都至少要上耶路撒冷城三次守節。這一次,基督抵達之後,似乎直接去到聖殿,卻震驚地發現聖殿不再是一個安靜的敬拜和禱告的地方,而成了一個嘈雜的牲畜市場。

倘若你曾到過某個龐大的牲畜市場或集市──特別是東方國家的市場──你便能大概想到當天基督在聖殿所見的景象、聽見的叫賣聲。聖殿怎麼會變成市場呢?

答案就是因為圖方便及貪婪。一切都是從小處開始的,或許有人提議說:「我們讓來敬拜的人們方便些吧!從外地來守節的人,很難趕著牲畜來獻祭,我們又不許人用羅馬的錢幣奉獻,所以他們需要兌換猶太人的銀錢。」這個建議聽來很好,可是,在現實中卻會變質。人的貪婪滋長,商人會殘酷榨取朝聖者身上的一分一毫。難怪基督稱它是「賊窩」。

雖然這一切的開始是為了「方便」,但神的心意卻從不要我們的敬拜,變成一件簡便的事。基督教信息的核心,正是在於犧牲──重價的犧牲。所以大衛說得好:「我怎可以將白白得來的東西獻給主?」

我們還應該看到,他們將聖殿的外邦人院用作市場,但外邦人院的用途,是為了邀請外邦人前來敬拜真神。他們將那裡用作市場,便等於表示:「我們不想有外邦人進來,擾亂我們的運作。」今天我們的教會有這種心態嗎?

要潔淨的不單是聖殿,更是猶太人──特別是猶太人宗教領袖的內心。願神今天喚醒我們的心,幫助我們省察自己是否用心靈和真理來敬拜祂。究竟有甚麼可能阻礙祂在我們裡面和祂要透過我們做的工作呢?

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ANOTHER VISIT TO JERUSALEM
Day 21


Bible Reading:   

John 2: 12-17

12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He, His mother, His brothers, and His disciples; and they did not stay there many days.
  
13 Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.

14 And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.

15 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.

16 And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

17 Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eatenMe up.”

A walk of over 100 kms (60 plus miles) brought Christ back to Jerusalem for the Passover feast. All Jewish men were required to present themselves in that city at least three times per year. On this occasion, it seems Christ went straight to the Temple and was shocked by what He found. Instead of a quiet place for worship and prayer, it had become a noisy cattle market.

If you have ever been to a large cattle sale or to a huge market place, especially in an eastern country, you will have some idea of the scene Christ saw and the noise He heard in the sanctuary that day. How did all this grow into such a state?

The answer is convenience coupled with greed. It possibly began in a small way. Someone suggested, “Let’s make it easier for the people to worship. Out of town visitors can’t be expected to bring their own animals. And we can’t allow anyone to use Roman money in the temple. They need to change it to Jewish coins.” It all sounded so good but it didn’t stop there. Greed then took over and the dealers exploited the worshippers unmercifully. No wonder Christ called it “a den of thieves”.

It all began with convenience but God has never planned that our worship would be a matter of convenience. Sacrifice, costly sacrifice, has been at the heart of the Christian message. David said it well, “Shall I offer to the Lord that which costs me nothing?”

Here we also need to see this market was held in the court of the Gentiles. Yet that court had been an invitation to the outsider to come and worship the true God. Now it was a market place. That said plainly, “We don’t want any strangers coming in and spoiling what we have.” Are any of our churches saying that today?

The Temple needed cleansing but the hearts of the Jewish people, especially the leaders, needed cleansing even more. May God quicken our conscience today and help us to see how real our worship is or what may be hindering His work in and through us.