Jesus entered the
The clearing of the temple by Jesus. This event occurs in every Gospel account. It shows Jesus at His most displeased. In one account He makes a whip out of some cords to drive out what He felt did not belong. This account can speak to both our individual walks as well as the state of our churches today. The church is of course the modern day temple, where the people of God come to worship and our body is also the temple of the Holy Spirit. We can conclude that based on the accounts of this story that God is infinitely concerned about the state of our temples today. He is asking us -- what needs to be cleansed from our temples today?
In looking at all four accounts we can see three major themes Jesus was upset about. The first being the distortion of religion into a commercial enterprise. God never intended religion to be a commercial pursuit. It was never supposed to be about money. That is one end result of the secularization of the church. God is very clear what He considers pure religion:
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. -- James 1: 27 (NLT)
How many churches are all about widows and orphans these
days? Most churches today contribute less than 5% of the budget towards missions
and offer very little in the way of true benevolence. Too many churches are not
only "corrupted" by the world but they are outright infiltrated by the world.
We are supposed to be separate from the world but modern theories of church
growth place an emphasis on "meeting people in their culture." This despite the
fact that their culture is killing them. When Paul visited
What was Jesus seeing in the temple? He was seeing tables filled with animals for sale to offer sacrifice. Tables with money changers who were there to convert outside currencies into Jewish monies. In John's account we see Jesus address this directly:
Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, "Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father's house into a marketplace!" -- John 2: 16 (NLT)
How many churches can we walk into today and feel like we
are in a marketplace just by standing in the lobby? Bake sales and sermons on
CD. I know the argument -- it's all for Jesus! Well, I am sure whatever argument
we can muster is the same argument they would have had the day Jesus cleared
the temple. Think about it. They people selling animals were doing so as a
convenience to the people. The proceeds went to the temple! Just like today.
The proceeds of the bake sale go to support the missions' trip, or the
children's choir, or the new building project. We use a Machiavellian
justification that the ends somehow justify the means. The
Likewise in our own walks as well. The issues just described come down to greed and compromise. Jesus made it very clear that we cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve both God and money. On the issue of compromise we must be vigilant against the things of this world.