Jesus In The Temple
by Ian Larson
He entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. (Mark 11:15)
This particular day may have felt like any other day but on this day Jesus turned the table, quite literally, on those who sought to make profit off of the temple. On this day Jesus walked into the temple and the “meek” and “mild” view of Jesus changed, much like Jeremiah, showed the people in the temple exactly what he thought of their actions.
In my mind Jesus walked into a temple that looked much like how you would imagine a sporting event. Vendors of all sorts trying to sell their products to anyone who would be passing them. People coming to Jerusalem from hundreds of miles away because of Passover to offer their sacrifices and vendors and sellers decided this was their time to make some extra money. Just like the guy selling peanuts at the ballpark, I can imagine hearing these merchants yelling “Pigeons, get your Pigeons here!” all while jacking up the prices far beyond what they normally would be. This is about as far from the place of worship Jesus would have come for and He wasn’t going to stand for it.
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? [Isaiah 56:7–8] But you have made it a den of robbers [Jeremiah 7:11].”
The issue of selling in the temple was a problem, but it wasn’t the only thing Jesus was taking issue with. The main issue Jesus had was how far off their heart of Israel’s worship had become and how far off it was from the prophecy of Isaiah, the prophecy that Jesus had come to fulfill. Jesus quotes Isaiah here reading from chapter 56: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” The greatest issue here wasn’t the selling but the fact that all the selling and price gouging had pushed out and filled the space for others to join in the worship. There was no room left for the Gentiles, outcast, and those who needed Him most to come to God.
Here is the lesson, or more the question, for today. Does our view of worship line up with God’s? DO our relationships and our group gatherings reflect the heart of a God who is looking to find the lost and outcast?
This question is most prevalent during the Easter season because, while most churches won’t be selling pigeons or oxen in the lobby, it is a time where we tend to put on our best to impress. Top notch decor and music, elegant attire and our energy higher than ever but if we aren’t reaching those outcasts, is there a point to any of it? If Jesus were to enter the building, would he take part in the masterful music, the fine tuned sermon or would He instead be searching for the misfits, the outcasts and those who feel alone?