Click here to watch my video reflection on our text for today, or keep reading for my written reflections:
Today as one of our readings, we look at Matthew 21: 12-17:
12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
but you are making it a den of robbers.”
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he cured them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the amazing things that he did, and heard[b] the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they became angry 16 and said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
‘Out of the mouths of infants and nursing babies
you have prepared praise for yourself’?”
17 He left them, went out of the city to Bethany, and spent the night there.
Today is Holy Monday, the Monday of Holy Week. Each day this week we will take time to examine what is happening in the life of Jesus that day. Today we see Him cleanse the Temple. Let’s take a look at this, though, and we’ll find that it really isn’t what we think it is.
We think this is Jesus going full Indiana Jones on His enemies. That is not what is happening. What is happening is this. When people would journey to Jerusalem to worship at the Temple and make their sacrifices, they would not carry with them the animal required for the sacrifice, they would purchase it there in Jerusalem.
These persons selling animals were set up in the outer court of the Temple, where they would sell what was required for the sacrifice. But here’s the thing. Then animals sold were normally not what the Law required. The Law had very specific requirements for what was used in worship. These animals did not meet these standards.
And to buy these substandard animals, you could not use your Roman money, it had a picture of Caesar, who the Romans viewed as a god. You could not use pagan money in the Temple. So you had to have this “changed” over to Temple money. And of course, the money changers would take a little of the top.
The Temple system was set up to make it harder for folks to come to worship. Those worshiping were not seen as worshipers but as profit centers. There were seen as opportunities to make money.
The Temple of God had been transformers from a house of prayer to a system that kept folks from being about to worship and would then steal from this. This rightly angered Jesus.
His whip was one that He used to drive out the animals, and people chased their inventory. And then He turned over the tables, to get folks to chase after their money.
Jesus wanted as many as possible to be able to come and to worship.
What if He came into our churches today? What would He find? Would He find us doing all in our power to make sure as many as possible knew about Him? Or would He find us following their path, making it harder for folks to come to worship?
The Bible says that God desires all to be saved. Today, what are we doing to help accomplish that?
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