Today we read the account of Jesus clearing the temple of the flea market. Men were selling cattle, sheep, and doves right there in the temple court. I’m sure someone had thought what a great ministry it would be if they made bringing an animal for sacrifice convenient to the people. Why not sell what they need right there in the temple?
When Jesus saw this “ministry” he was mad. He made a whip and used it on the merchants, overturned their money tables, and ran them out of the temple. He didn’t even consider their noble intentions.
We really don’t like talking about that Jesus. We like talking about the Jesus who tells us to love everybody, to turn the other cheek, to do good to those who harm us. I love talking about that Jesus, too.
But we shouldn’t forget the Jesus who protected the holiness of the temple – with force.
Now, I’ve been accused of having pet-peeves when it comes to modern-day worship. So if you don’t want to hear it, I would suggest you stop reading right here. No hard feelings. I honestly don’t know if it’s pet-peeves, or if God nudges my heart on these matters. But if it’s from God, I don’t want to ignore it.
I know we haven’t turned our churches into flea markets. But many of us have turned them into coffee shops. We tweak our worship services so as not to offend people, or to make it more attractive to people, we change our schedules to make it convenient for people to attend, even if it’s Saturday night.
Sounds like a great idea for ministry. I can see why many people have jumped on that bandwagon. But is there Scripture to back it up? Does God ever in His Word tell us to worship only when it’s convenient, or entertaining, or comfortable? I’m not so sure we have done a good job of protecting God’s House, the place of prayer.
Here’s the other thing: Our bodies are God’s temple as well, the place where God lives on this earth in 2019. Do we protect His holiness in us with as much fervor as Jesus protected that temple in Jerusalem?
Yes, Jesus’ message was love, forgiveness, grace. I love that about Him. I’ll continue to talk about Him in those terms. But I am reminded today that there is another side to Jesus, a side that isn’t so fun to talk about. He never compromised on the holiness of the Temple. He never suggested we take worship of God for anything other than worship of God. He took it very seriously. So I want to, too.