I wanted to share with you a few thoughts from my sermon yesterday. Our passage was one of the more interesting passages in all the Bible, Jesus cleansing the Temple. We read from John 2: 14-16:
14 In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 He told those who were selling the doves, “Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!”
My joke when I read this passage is if we are going to live by the motto WWJD (what would Jesus do?) then making a whip and flipping over tables is always an option. If we look at this passage, though, it can be a little unsettling.
I mean, isn’t Jesus a nice guy? Isn’t all Jesus really wants is for us to be happy? Isn’t that what Jesus ministry was about, our happiness? Sometimes, that is the message we hear from culture. Jesus is really just a spiritual genie in heaven, wanting only to grant our wishes.
That isn’t what Scripture teaches.
Today we see Jesus make a whip and flip tables. I said yesterday he went full Indian Jones. Why did he do this?
In this culture, to make a sacrifice at the Temple, you had to have your bull, sheep, or other animal. But most people didn’t have any of those, much less a spare to sacrifice. So, when they went to the Temple, they would purchase one to sacrifice.
But their Roman money had a picture of Ceaser on it, and the Romans regarded him as a god, so this pagan money must be changed over (by the money-changers) to be able to be used in the Temple.
So what you have here is burden upon burden of things between people and God. Each of these things, they separated people from God. They made it where the typical person could not come to the Temple to worship.
These things stood between the people and God. So Jesus cleansed the Temple. He drove out the things that stood between the people and God.
Jesus wanted nothing to stand between people and His Father. He drove all of those things out.
Today, we are called to follow Him. And it that, we must ask ourselves, what are those things in our souls, what are those things in our lives, that stand between us and God? What are those things that keep us from really know and serving God?
Is it comfort? Unforgiveness? What keeps us from God?
And today, are we willing to drive out those things? Are we willing to follow Jesus, and drive out the things in our lives that keep us from God?