March 07, 2008

Cleansing the Temple (1)

Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there.
Matthew 21:12


Let’s take some time over the next few days to discover what Jesus is teaching us by his cleansing of the temple. When Jesus entered the temple area after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, he began driving out everyone who was buying and selling there.

What had stoked the fires of his divine wrath and anger? We know from Scripture that the “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Timothy 6:10). Jesus knew that too. Jesus became angry because religious hucksters were using God to make extra money. You see, people traveling into Jerusalem for the Passover needed to buy animals for the sacrifices they would offer to God during this festival. Most of those people also needed to exchange their money for temple currency in order to buy the animals. The trouble, though, was that the money changers and sellers were often dishonest and took advantage of those travelers.

I have met people who were turned off by the church. When I once asked a neighbor why he no longer attended church, he said he had quit because the church didn’t care for him—they just wanted his money. I don’t know if that was true or just an excuse. But I do know that many people have been turned off because they’ve been fleeced by some unscrupulous person who claimed to be a Christian. When that happens, Jesus gets angry.

Lord, what needs to be cleansed in our lives? Is it a love for money? Is it a desire to exploit people for our own purposes? Lord, cleanse what is offensive in me. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Jerry Hoytema

Pastor Jerry Hoytema is a retired minister living in Ontario. In his retirement he has served several churches as an interim pastor. He and his wife, Winnie, have four children and 13 grandchildren.

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