“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.” – John 2:13-17
We all get angry at times. However, our anger is normally about something offensive to ourselves. We do not like the way someone spoke to us or we get extremely angry because someone parked too close to our new car. We often get angry because we cannot have our own way.
It was drawing near to the feast of Passover. Jesus was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover, which according to Deuteronomy 16:16, all Jewish males were mandated to visit Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. While visiting the temple, Jesus noticed the chaos and marketplace atmosphere in the temple.
In the temple area, which was probably the Gentiles courts, the authorities had permitted what appeared to be a profiteering racket. They transformed the temple into an international money exchange and a marketplace.
According to the law of Moses, the visitors to the Passover celebration were required to present an offering to the Lord. They were not to appear at the Lord’s temple empty handed.
Consequently, because many visitors to Jerusalem came from afar, some from across the sea, needing to purchase an offering for the Lord’s altar. Also, they needed to pay the temple tax, which necessitated the money changers.
However, instead of facilitating the visitors to Passover, the merchants were profiteering. The merchants were using the house of God as a place to cheat and exploit people. It was unfortunate that the temple authorities were allowing this to take place in God’s house of worship.
Upon seeing this, Jesus became infuriated. He therefore acted to reclaim the house of God from those who had made a mockery of it. He drove the people from the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers.
The temple was a place to proclaim God’s mercy and renew a right relationship with God. Unfortunately, in Jesus’ time, that place, instead, became a place of profaneness.
This was due to an erosion of worship into a self-serving activity. The people’s relationship of trust between them and God had been replaced by less humble attitudes.
As we look around our world today, we see the same thing happening. The church has become a den for thieves. People are using the church for profits.
Therefore, it is time to get angry. Yes, it is time to get angry and stand up for the things of God.
We are in a battle with Satan who, particularly during this Lenten season, is out to defame and defile the church of God. We need to reclaim the church from the profiteers and those who would misrepresent her to the world.
We are called to clean up our act. We are called to do so not only during our Lenten journey – we are to do so during our life walk. Get angry, not for selfishness but because we have a seal for that which is of God. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: email@example.com; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.