Posted by: pmarkrobb | April 3, 2023

perhaps for our day

I have written before of the significance of Sunday’s scrutinizing in truly understanding Monday’s mayhem. Jesus’ cleansing was something wholly different than the temple tantrum or tirade one might see absent Mark 11:11. This was no knee-jerk reaction showing up unaware on Monday morning. This was a righteous and proportional response to yesterday’s close examination. I spent a good number of years as a Christian missing that crucial context. Discoveries like that are just one of the things that has made my repeated, deliberate walks through Holy Week so meaningful. Seeing things I had not noticed before, experiencing details or whole stories as though it was the very first time reading them.

I had only intended to write for Palm Sunday before turning my attention to the grand end to this week. But then I read on a few verses more and something wholly new caught my eye. There amid the telling of Christ’s cleaning of the commerce from the outer court of his Father’s house was a detail I hadn’t ever noticed. I knew of the money-changers overturned tables, the seats of the pigeon-sellers He strewn, and His proclamation about prayer that punctuated Monday’s mayhem. But wait, what does Mark write before Jesus turns to teaching?

And He would not allow anyone to
carry anything through the temple.
Mark 11:16 (ESV)

I’m sure I hadn’t recognized that before. And if I had, should I be surprised that I didn’t take notice? Does it really much matter held up against the bold action of overturning tables and scattering seats? Did Jesus shout at people as they passed? Did He knock things out of their hands? I read and re-read the verse a number of times. I sat with it silently. I came up with eleventeen different ideas as to what it might have meant. But then my heart and mind just settled on something plain.
I don’t offer this as direct interpretation, and it may not be the intended application, but it washed over me as truly as I believe He meant for me to hear it. God’s house – the one then and the ones we go to now – is not meant for people to be carrying things. It ought to be a place where we bring things but then lay them down. It seems that our hands ought to be open when we’re there; free to use in embrace, or grab hold of another’s, or to extend, lift or rest from their toiling.

God had made His purpose clear to their ancients. His house was a place for people to pray. Yet it had become a place where people were preyed upon. His Son had visited yesterday to carefully examine and came today to radically cleanse. “He’s treating the place like he owns it,” the leaders must have thought. About that, they could not have been more right. This was God’s own Son, God himself, reclaiming what was His and setting it back to its true purpose.

He didn’t allow anyone to carry anything that day. Perhaps that’s as much for our day as it was for that day.



  1. I am one who has been forever “Mark”ed by your 11:11 observations from years ago.😊 Kelly and I were engaged in reading to that point yesterday. I look forward to (His) new observation and consideration in today’s sharing around “carry” as that new awareness lives in my presence going forward. Thanks! 😊

    I hope you enjoy this, another new day, that our Father has provided and carry’s for us!

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