When Jesus entered the temple, he was outraged by the commercialism of the temple area. It had the surface appearance of supporting worship, but was really being driven by profit. The Old Testament Law tells about sacrifices that were to be made at the temple. Bulls, lambs, and doves were all sacrificed at the temple. Anybody who didn’t live in the Jerusalem area would need to buy an animal for sacrifice. The Law also allowed a monetary offering in the place of some sacrifices. The money changers were there to support worshipers with different currencies so they could make a monetary offering or buy an animal. It all sounds very religious.
The problem was that all of those who were engaged in business in the temple were not there out of their dedication to God. They were there to make a profit. The religious leaders (Priests and Levites) who were in charge at the temple were probably getting a cut of the profits.
Jesus was very zealous about the temple. He cared deeply about worship. He was upset by those who profaned worship and drove them out. John says that Jesus’ disciples remembered Psalm 69:9.
Malachi 3:1-4 "See, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. Then the Lord you seek will suddenly come to His temple, the Messenger of the covenant you desire-- see, He is coming," says the LORD of Hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of His coming? And who will be able to stand when He appears? For He will be like a refiner's fire and like cleansing lye. 3 He will be like a refiner and purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver. Then they will present offerings to the LORD in righteousness. 4 And the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will please the LORD as in days of old and years gone by.
The religious leaders wanted a sign of authority. He told them that the sign was the rebuilding of the temple in three days. He alluded to the resurrection. The resurrection is still THE SIGN. The resurrection is the proof of who Jesus is.
How much do we tolerate in church because we are so accustomed to things that we don’t even recognize when something is contrary to God’s word? Unfortunately we don’t all recognize impropriety at the same time. So when one person says “That’s not right”, the rest of us are offended. Our standard can not be our culture or tradition. It must be the word of God. We must be careful with anything new and ask, “Does this glorify God?” “Is it proper?” We must also be critical of our traditions and ask the same questions.
This article was originally posted by Pastor Cliff 8/1/2008.