And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘MY house shall be called A house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbers’ den.” (Mark 11.17)
I love the picture you get reading this passage. Jesus has just violently driven out of the temple those who would use it as a place of commerce, rather than a place to meet with and pray to God. And then he begins to teach…Anyone present would be thinking, “what is going on here? This man seems so aggressive/passive!
What strikes me here though, is how saturated in the Scriptures Jesus was. He sits down to teach and then he quotes from memory from the book of Isaiah, and then from the book of Jeremiah.
Think about that for a moment. This was before the day of the iPhone, the audible Bible, the typewriter, the printing press, before really any advancement in how we reproduce and access the written word. Jesus obviously has whole sections of the Tanakh (what we know as the Old Testament) committed to memory and he is able to retrieve what he needs immediately! This was actually not all that unusual at the time, but it strikes us as practically miraculous.
This is a good example of how important the Scriptures were to Jesus. He knew them, he had them memorized, he could recall them at a moment’s notice and apply them. We perhaps do not have the memory ability that Jesus did, but certainly we could and should follow his example of being so saturated in the Scriptures that we know them and can apply them. Indeed, I suppose that Jesus’ generation would say that we have it easy, since we can carry Scripture around in digital form wherever we happen to be. We forget what a tremendous blessing this is in comparison to previous generations.