CHAPEL NOTES : Regime Change
Jesus' clearing of the temple
courts was a symbolic critique and judgment of the present leadership of
Jerusalem. We are given an insight into his critique by the words
Jesus uses in v. 17:
as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: "'My house will
be called a house of prayer for all nations' ? But you have made it 'a den
is clear that proper usage of the temple had been frustrated. But what
exactly is the problem? In what way is the Jerusalem temple a "temple
are two quotations that Jesus has joined together. The first is taken from
Isa 56.7. This is a quote from a grand section in Isaiah describing how
the non-Jews will be accepted as part of God's people when they bind
themselves to YHWH. The temple will be a house of prayer for all nations.
But Jesus found that under this regime, the court had become a smelly,
noisy public market. There was no where that the Gentiles could worship.
In this way, the Jerusalem regime had robbed the Gentiles of their
God-given right to worship YHWH. They had made the temple-worship only for
the Jews. They had made it a religion that was inward-looking.
only that, it seems obvious that some of the regime leadership were in on
the profits as well. Exorbitant prices were charged for money changing and
the sale of birds. What was supposed to have been for the convenience of
the pilgrims was soon turned into lucrative business. High prices were
charged, and people had no choice to but to pay. This business could only
have taken place with the collusion of the high priests, and there is some
evidence to suggest some of these high priestly families became immensely
rich from this business. In this way, the Jerusalem regime robbed the
people. They had made it a religion for profit.
had also made it a religion of comfort and presumption. Look at how Jesus
combined his Isaiah quote with one from Jeremiah 7.11. He says you have
made the temple into a den of robbers. This quote is taken from a great
sermon preached at the gate of the temple by the prophet Jeremiah some 600
years before Jesus' time. Jeremiah tells the people that YHWH wants them
to reform their ways and their actions. He warns them not to keep saying
"This is the temple of the Lord (X3)" as if that would be any
guarantee against God's judgment. Jeremiah's point is that nobody is safe
if you keep doing such detestable things. Nobody. Not even in this house,
in this temple. This is Jeremiah's message to Jerusalem leading up to the
destruction of the first temple in 586 BC, and Jesus takes over the same
message in the first century. Jesus is telling Jerusalem not to assume
that God is going to rubber-stamp everything they do just because they do
it in God's name or just because it takes place on holy real estate. Jesus
is telling Jerusalem: Don't think you're exempt from God's standards.
Don't think you're immune from God's judgment.
then are Jesus' critiques of the Jerusalem regime leadership:
is no wonder then that Jesus calls for Regime Change. The present regime
had degenerated into a religion of inwardness, profit, and presumption. If
it continued in its present course, Jerusalem would be heading towards
disaster. It would be heading towards judgment, of which Jesus' clearing
of the temple was a foretaste. In case we still don't get the point, Mark
surrounds the cleansing of the temple is surrounded by the account of the
cursing of the fig tree. The fig tree is a traditional OT symbol of
Israel. Israel the fig-tree produces no fruit, and it is cursed. Judgment
is coming. Only by accepting Jesus as her king, her Messiah, would that
disaster be averted. Only by following the way of the kingdom would the
people show that they are truly God's people.
is the sobering message of Regime Change. And it is a message also for our
comes to us, as he did that first Palm Sunday and challenges us. Who is
he? He is king and he is Lord. Not me. Not us. What does it mean to follow
him? It means rejecting the ways of being inward looking, and accepting a
life oriented towards bringing the gospel to those on the outside. It
means rejecting the ways of profit, and accepting a life dedicated to
service and giving. It means rejecting the ways of presumption, and
accepting a life open to the risk of trusting in Jesus, and listening to
his correction and challenge.
other words, we undergo Regime Change.
Chapel Speaker on 11 August will
be Rev C.V. John, who directs the New Life Ministries in India and
is based in the USA. We welcome you, Rev. John!
BGST MISSION TRIP
Last week the students were
pleasantly surprised by the announcement that indeed a field trip was
being planned to Indonesia for August 18-20, barely two weeks away. Taking
advantage of the limited offer of cheap airfares - we had only two days to
respond and so there was no time to pass the word around - we were able to
gather together a group of 8 students who will be led by the Dean on a
special visit to a Bible School located at Jonggol in Bogor District, West
Java. The Sekolah Tinggi Teologia Citra Abdiel (STTCA) is a project of the
Zion B-P Church. After some 30 years of church planting in Indonesia and
involvement at two Bible Schools, it became clear to our Dean that
training was urgently needed to prepare evangelists to serve in
unevangelized areas in Indonesia where religious militancy prevails. The
existing schools were not producing enough missionaries who need to be
equipped to serve in a contextualized setting.
STTCA currently has about 90
students. We will go as a team to conduct a full day of teaching, with
sessions thrown in for fellowship and fun. Using notes prepared by our
Dean on “Walk Through Romans” we will introduce this novel method of
understanding the Bible. After the Dean has introduced his “Short
Walk”, our team will train the students (through interpreters) on the
“Long Walk”. Each student will present a short segment of Romans and
the Dean will complete the presentation by bringing together the various
segments into one cohesive whole, taking pains to apply the message of
Romans to Christian living in Indonesia. For this aspect the faculty of
STTCA will be roped in to make what hopefully by the grace of God will be
an enjoyable time of learning. Romans is a key book in the New Testament.
It presents the truth of the Gospel in a most poignant manner. Romans,
“the Gospel according to Paul”, has an enduring message for all ages.
For almost 2000 years it has brought inspiration, joy, comfort to many.
Dr Quek will preach at a
Thanksgiving Service attended by Christian leaders from Jakarta and BGST
students will present a musical item. The students of STTCA will be
dressed in their ethnic costumes. Pray for the BGST Mission Team that it
may be a blessing to many.
Letter to the Editor. We are
please to share with our readers the following email from Huang Hong who
responded to Dr Quek’s write-up on “The BGST Difference” in BGST
This Week No.27, 12-18 July:
“I am new to BGST.
So reading your reflections concerning "the reason for
being" of BGST, was a good introduction. I am doing my Master of
Education: Leadership and Management programme and am naturally drawn to
the things you wrote.
interesting are the programmes that are offered at BGST which not only
allows full-time working people to be engaged in biblical studies but also
sets the platform for busy people to do these courses without leaving
their jobs. This change in paradigm is an encouraging departure to the way
students of the Bible are normally being trained.
Remaining employed and doing serious studies of the Bible
concurrently not only gives a real-life learning and experience-based
platform but allows for the possible infusion of inter-disciplinary and
multi-dimensional insights to both worlds (spiritual & the
“I am saddened that many
theological graduates I have met from the traditional approach are not
cognizant of world issues. Their
views are so simplistic, even naive, that I fear they are not going to be
very effective in ministry (in this globalised age).
Most are narrow, have no interest in world affairs and some don't
even have other interests/hobbies beyond their duties in the church!
“Hope what you have
beautifully written will translate to real behavioural changes in the
lives of the staff and students at BGST.”
A Blessed Birthday to ...
Joyce Wee 9/8
Teoh Cheng Ping 9/8
David Leong Wai Yin 10/8
Ong Teck Chye 10/8
Aquila Lee 10/8
Daisy Sim 11/8
Ong Hock Chye 11/8
Benjamin Lee 14/8
Edwin Chee 14/8
Koe Hung Tatt 15/8
Ming Feong Ching 15/8
Immanuel Andrew 15/8