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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

On Your Mark by Dr. George O. Wood


Looked Around

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve. (Mark 11:11, NIV)

Earlier that day, Jesus — surrounded by an adoring and shouting crowd — rode a colt down the Mount of Olives, across the narrow Kidron Valley, and up to Jerusalem. Outside the Temple Mount, Jesus would have dismounted and then entered one of the gates leading up to the vast platform known as the Court of the Gentiles.

If the adoring crowd with Jesus expected Him to do something dramatic to restore the kingdom of David, they were sorely disappointed. Jesus did nothing except look around. His gaze took in everything — the temple itself with its restricted access for priests only, the wall that separated the Gentiles from entering the inner courts, the smoke arising from the altar of sacrifice. But, mostly, His focus centered on the outer court — and especially the southern part, where the money changers converted regular money into temple currency. He took it all in, but took no action.

This is the fifth time in the Gospel of Mark that Jesus is recorded as having “looked around.” The phrase connotes a slow, elliptical movement of the eyes that carefully takes in every detail, a kind of patient, moving stare.

The first “looked around” (3:5) occurs when Jesus, in anger and deep distress, visually challenges those who did not want Him to heal a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath.

The second “looked around” (3:34) focuses on the circle of those seated around Him when His mother and brothers came to take Him away. He disowns their attempt to divert Him from His mission and instead defines His true family by saying whoever does the will of His Father is His mother and brother.

The third “looked around” (5:32) comes when Jesus senses that power has gone out from Him. He looks for the woman who has touched His clothes. His look is not one of anger, but of assurance to her that her faith has made her well from her 12-year illness.

He “looked around” the fourth time (10:23) after the rich young ruler spurned the Lord’s offer of discipleship. At that point, Jesus spoke difficult words to His disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

Now, in the Court of the Gentiles of the Temple Mount area, Jesus looks around for the fifth time recorded in Mark. He sizes up everything. It’s late in the day. He observes, but does nothing. In that moment, had He acted to turn over the tables of the money changers, a riot would have ensued. The adoring pilgrim throng that escorted Him into Jerusalem would have joined in a melee. But Jesus held back and returned to Bethany.

These five occasions illustrate Jesus’ penetrating gaze. He is emotional at the hardness of heart of those who dare Him to heal, emotional that His mother and brothers don’t understand Him, emotional when a woman has been cured through her faith, emotional when a would-be disciple has rejected Him, and emotional when the temple has been prostituted for financial gain.

If Jesus looked around at you and me, what would He see? Would He look at us with anger and distress? With disappointment? With commendation for our faith?

A prayer of response
Lord Jesus, may Your “look around” at me be that look of approval You gave to the woman who was healed, and not a look of grief or sadness at my wrongful behavior.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

On Your Mark

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2013 On Your Mark

2012 On Your Mark

2011 On Your Mark

2010 On Your Mark

2009 On Your Mark

2008 On Your Mark

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