John 2:13-17

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

The only mention of Jesus in the Bible between the infancy narrative and his appearance in the desert about thirty years later was a tiny incident that occurred when he was twelve. His parents had come to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover, and on their way back, they realized Jesus had been left behind. They returned to Jerusalem to "find him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions" (Luke 2:41-52).

I am sure he observed many wrong things over the years, first as a boy, then as a young man. People selling animals. Money changers doing business. Now thirty years old, he was determined to set things right. Making a whip of cords, he drove all the animals out of the temple. He also poured out the money changers' coins and overturned their tables. And he said to them: "Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father's house a marketplace!"

Jesus was angry, and I am sure he was a sight to see. Why was he so angry? It wasn't because these things were being done — pilgrims needed to purchase sacrificial animals, and a lot of them needed to exchange money to be able to do so — but because it was being done in the wrong place. God's house — his Father's house! — had been turned from a place of worship into a marketplace, and this he could not abide.

We need to get angry too, but ONLY about what makes God angry. These cover a whole gamut of things, from poverty and injustice to preventing kingdom growth and the desecration and destruction of our churches. We need to start getting vocal about these things because, for too long, the church has kept quiet about the evil happening all around it. Don’t you think God might get a little tired of the rubbish that's happening today, especially in his name? He needs his house made clean!

How will he do it? Through us. Again how? Start speaking up. When we hear people preaching false doctrines and corrupting the truth; when we see people knocking other Christians down, encouraging hatred and division rather than promoting love and unity; when we find leaders acting like politicians and gangsters, intimidating believers to do their will; when we find shepherds apathetic to the needs of their flock, many of whom are in desperate straits, we need to speak up.

While doing this, we should also examine the motives and priorities that shape our worship gatherings and the condition of our hearts as worshipers. Just as the temple had become a marketplace, there is a risk of churches becoming overly consumed by financial considerations, commercialism, and the pursuit of material gain. And just as Jesus cleansed the temple to restore its rightful purpose, churches today are called to regularly assess their practices, structures, and attitudes, ensuring they align with God's heart and vision.

We also need to examine the authenticity and sincerity of OUR worship. Are we simply going through the motions, performing rituals without a genuine engagement of the heart? Are we prioritizing external expressions of worship over true inward transformation? We must recognize that our entire lives should be an offering of worship to God, and our church gatherings should be a communal practice of that worship.

God bless you.

More in this category: « John 2:6-12 John 2:18-22 »
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