“To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!’ His disciples remembered that it is written: ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’” (John 2:16-17)
The Temple in Jerusalem was a special place where God made Himself known to the people. It stood for everything pertaining to God and the worship of Him. The religious leaders had turned the outer Court of the Gentiles into a market place so that they could make it easier for the people to purchase their required sacrifices and exchange their money. This act was pleasing to the people because they didn’t have to go to the Mt. of Olives to get their sacrifices anymore, and besides, who really cared about the Gentiles. To disrupt this new practice meant a disruption in this money making business. Jesus wasn’t concerned about the convenience of the people or the money making. He wanted the Court of the Gentiles open for prayer and worship for those who were to soon be welcomed into God’s Kingdom through faith in Him.
There are always temptations to compromise the worship centers of the Church. We must always ask if what we do is pleasing to the Lord or would He drive us out. Money is one of the greatest temptations even in the church. Whether we sell objects to make money or give it, it is our motivation that matters. Are we giving from a heart in love with Jesus? Is He the center of all we do? It must be!
Heavenly Father, it is with great sorrow that we realize that we may do in our churches what the religious leaders of Jerusalem did. Help us to know what pleases You in worship and do it. Our desire is to only worship You with all honor and glory. May our gatherings be all about You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Pastor Robert Forsberg is retired from Light of Christ Lutheran Church in Fairborn.