Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-48
The day Monday is often met with disdain. Rarely do you ever hear someone say they are excited for Monday, that first day of the traditional work week and the farthest point away from that relaxing weekend. While most of us have had our less than desirable Monday experiences, there’s one group in history that had a particularly bad one.
Following the excitement of the day before, Jesus created even more buzz by making his way to the holy temple to teach. You can only imagine what kind of stir this caused as people heard that the very Messiah, chosen by God was coming to teach in the sacred house of the LORD. When you have been waiting with great anticipation for the coming Savior as long as these people have, it’s not something you want to miss. You can’t help but wonder how people expected to how Jesus would react upon his arrival. Would he compliment the beauty and majesty of this sacred building? Would he marvel at the many deals offered at the Temple Gift Shop? Would he be impressed by the many great teachers and speakers that have made their way through its halls? As history shows us, this wasn’t exactly the case.
After entering the Temple, Jesus wasn’t impressed with the architecture. He wasn’t excited to be one of the many speakers to have graced the temple with his presence. In fact, Jesus was not happy at all but instead, was very angry. The temple was filled with money changers and merchants that were not there to help but instead prey upon devoted Passover pilgrims there to worship their God. These profiteers took advantage of people that needed to pay the temple tax and present unblemished animals all in an attempt to fill their pockets by profiting off of these people’s love for God. So how did Jesus handle it?
Consumed by holy zeal and God’s righteousness, Jesus threw out the merchants and customers alike and even barred anyone from entering that intended to treat the temple like their own personal strip mall. He then taught the real purpose of the temple. The temple is not a place to exploit the poor under the guise of worship but the temple is to be a house of prayer. It’s to be a place where God’s people can come together and praise Him for his goodness and dive into his Word together. The people had lost sight of this and their own greed overcame their need and reliance for God.
Many identify this moment as when the people’s love and excitement for Jesus turned into anger and wrath. They were no longer excited for the coming Messiah but enraged by this man who challenged their ways and so fervently and publicly came against the corruption they embraced. However, this is why Jesus came: to clean what’s been corrupted. He didn’t come to bring death and destruction but life and life abundant (John 10:10) and this starts with allowing him to investigate the deepest parts of who we are and cleanse us through his Holy Spirit. Sometimes, it’s not pretty and it’s not easy but the end result is always for us to experience life.
As you start this week, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas of your life that you may holding onto that keep you from living the fullness of what God has for you. Regardless of what you’re holding onto or the sin you just can’t seem to let go, Jesus wants to make you clean. It may not be pretty and it may not be comfortable but it is always for your good and because He loves you.
- Why do you feel Jesus was so angry in this story? What does this say about sin committed?
- Read 1 Corinthians 6:19. What does it mean that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit? What does this say about how we should treat ourselves?
- What were the priorities of the merchants? How can you avoid having those same priorities?