Jeremiah 7 records God’s word to Jeremiah on what to say to an Israel in need of a rebuke (Jer 7:1). He was to stand at one of the gates of the temple and call to those who were entering for worship (Jer 7:2). His message was that they should amend their ways so that God would be pleased to let them dwell in His temple for worship (Jer 7:3). They were not to trust in their temple participation as a means of avoiding God’s wrath for their sins (Jer 7:4). With an unrepentant heart, it was no use to go to the temple and vainly repeat, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord” (Jer 7:4).
Jeremiah was then to identify their specific sins and how they failed to execute justice in Israel (Jer 7:5). Their sins were to oppress the disadvantaged― foreigners, fatherless, and widows (Jer 7:6). Moreover, they were murdering innocent people and worshipping other gods (Jer 7:6). Renounce these ways, they were told, and God would surely secure their place in land of Israel (Jer 7:7).
Recalling the deceptive words in Jer 7:4, Jeremiah was to point out that their misplaced trust would yield no benefit in light of their theft, murder, adultery, lies, and idolatry (Jer 7:8–9). Any benefit they could have received from their worship in the temple was negated by their abominable behavior (Jer 7:10). Just as bandits and hooligans thieve and then hide with no remorse, so also Israel was treating the temple as a den of robbers where they thought they could flee the consequences of their sins (Jer 7:11). Their actions were like Israel in 1 Samuel 4 when Israel placed its trust in the presence of the Ark of the Covenant to bring them victory against the Philistines. Trusting in an object as if it were a magic charm, their trust was not in the Lord. They lost the battle, the Ark was captured, Shiloh was destroyed, and the high priest and his sons died (Jer 7:12–15; 1 Sam 4:1–11). Being in the temple would no more negate their guilt than the Ark helped Israel in that battle.
Jesus quoted Jer 7:12 in Mark 11:17 and thereby condemned the temple and its salesmen as being a “den of robbers.” If they thought about what Jeremiah had said so long ago, they would have understood that their show of worship was in vain in light of their unrepentant sin. If nothing else, Christ stood in their midst, and they would only challenge His authority (Mark 11:27–28). Eventually, in this same temple, Jesus would be betrayed by Judas to the Jewish leadership for a sum of thirty pieces of silver (Matt 26:14–16; cf. 27:5). This temple and its worship had not improved since Jeremiah’s day. Let us all take note that we truly worship God and do not see our gathering together as a means of excusing a hidden life of sin.
This hymn is based on passage that the sermon is taken from, Mark 1:1–11.
It is sung to the tune of Regent Square Melody (Angels From the Realms of Glory). The text is attributed to Dwight M. Pratt (1888)
See from Bethany advancing
Joyful throngs by Jesus led;
Loud hosannas rend the heavens,
Garments rich His pathway spread;
Shout, ye saints! your triumph sing!
Blessed is the coming king!
Now the sacred gates are lifted,
Zion’s king is passing through.
All the glory of the city
And the temple rise to view;
Zion, shout, your Savior own,
David’s Son, on David’s throne!
King of peace, Jehovah’s chosen!
King with highest glory crowned!
Honored by the hosts of Heaven,
By the earthly Zion owned.
Take Thy scepter, rule the throng
Praising Thee with hallowed song!
Sad, ah, sad the changeful morrow,
Bitter scorn for ardent praise;
They who’d build a throne of glory,
Now a cruel cross upraise.
Yet, O Zion, triumph sing!
Christ betrayed is Savior, king!
The first question concerns Jesus’ whereabouts related to the healing of blindness in Matthew 20:29–34, Mark 10:46–52, and Luke 18:35–43. In Mark 10:46, Jesus enters and then leaves Jericho: “And they came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho…” (Mark 10:46). Matthew’s parallel only speaks of Jesus’ leaving: “as they went out of Jericho” (Matt 20:29). Luke, however, appears to have Jesus entering Jericho: “As he drew near to Jericho” (Luke 18:35). Is Jesus coming or going from Jericho when He healed the blind?
The answer could very well be that the healing took place as He was leaving (as recorded in Mark 10:46 and Matt 20:29) and that “he drew near” in Luke 18:35 could actually be translated “when he was in the vicinity of Jericho.” The verb (engizō) translated in the ESV as “he drew near” would then be indicating Jesus’ location and not referring to movement. An example of how this verb could function this way is found just afterward in Luke 18:40. After a verb of motion (“Jesus stopped and commanded him to be brought to him”), then the blind man was indicated to be near Jesus with the same verb in question in Luke 18:35. Thus, Luke 18:40 could be translated “when he was near” instead of “when he came near.” Adding “came” gives the notion of movement, which has already been indicated with another verb. Just as the blind man was near Jesus in Luke 18:40, so also Jesus was near Jericho in Luke 18:35.
It is a bit easier to identify how many men Jesus healed. Matt 20:29–34 records two men being healed, and both Mark 10:46–52 and Luke 18:35–43 record the healing of one. It is not incorrect for Mark and Luke to say that a man was healed of blindness. They simply chose not to report that another was healed as well. Had they added a qualifier such as the word only and said only one man had been healed, then we would have a problem. Mark and Luke simply record the healing of one man for their distinct purposes in writing their Gospels.
 This paragraph summarizes a primary argument in Stanley E. Porter, “‘In the Vicinity of Jericho’: Luke 18:35 in the Light of its Synoptic Parallels’,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 2 (1992): 91–104. This article is available online: https://www.ibr-bbr.org/files/bbr/BBR-1992_06_Porter_JerichoLuke18.pdf. For a summary of all passages together, see Darrell L. Bock, Jesus According to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2002), 309–10.
Pastor David Huffstutler
Pastor Huffstutler regularly writes articles for our Sunday bulletin. See his bio on our pastoral bio page.