Sunday, August 14, 2011

Matthew 21:12-13


12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves. 13 And He said to them, ``It is written, `MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER'; but you are making it a ROBBERS' DEN.''

This was a real problem within the Temple. It was not simply selling CDs, DVDs and books in the back of the room as most churches do or through their church bookstore nor is it the many sign-up, register and pay booths we have at our local churches. This was a real defrauding of the people!

1. Each animal was presented for inspection to see if it was acceptable for a proper sacrifice. Not only did they have to pay the inspector, but they inspectors tended to reject most of them and offer to sell a better specimen back to them at a high price. Or, if a person didn't have an animal to sacrifice they were gouged when they bought one from the Temple authorities.

2. There was also a Temple tax that was imposed upon everyone who came to the Temple feasts. This tax was to be paid in exact half-shekels and nothing else, therefore there was a third offense.

3. In addition to being gouged, those who were from out of town had to get their moneychanged to pay for the sacrifices. In the exchange transaction there was also a gouging of sorts going on. Because of the vast amount of pilgrims which journeyed to Jerusalem for Passover from foreign lands outside the land of Israel where collections would not already have been made, the revenue from such a conversion of money would have been immense!

They were stealing money from those whose pure intentions were to come to the Temple and make sacrifices to the Lord.

All in all, it seemed to Jesus that this had the spirit of a busy swap-meet, a major distraction away from coming to worship the God of gods. Anything that brings this spirit with money and the exchange of monies is most demeaning to the holiness of our God. So, Jesus cleaned up a bit!

What would Jesus do at your church service?