Day 2 - Cleansing the Temple // Holy Week

Day 2 // Cleansing the Temple

“Jesus went into the temple complex and drove out all those buying and selling in the temple. He overturned the money changers’ tables and the chairs of those selling doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves!’” - Matthew 21:12-13 HCSB.

For any of you who have traveled internationally, you know about the exchange rate. During my first mission trip to Honduras, I needed to exchange US dollars for Honduran lempiras. I thought the easiest and best place to do that would be at the airport when we landed. Our guide told me that was probably the worst place to exchange money, because I would be charged an additional convenience fee and not get the best exchange rate for my money. Lesson learned.

During the last week of His life, Jesus returned to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. Many others who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover that week were from other countries and traveled a long distance. When they arrived, they had to pay the required temple tax and needed to exchange their money. Some needed to purchase animals to sacrifice for their sins. The money changers and merchants set themselves up in the temple complex as a “convenience” to help with both transactions.

Jesus was angry with the money changers and merchants for exploiting the people and overcharging them with outrageous exchange rates and exorbitant convenience fees, and for conducting these transactions in the temple complex. This “buying and selling” was wrong, and it created barriers for those who had come to worship and sacrifice. When Jesus entered the temple, He expected to see people praying and praising and worshiping God. Instead, He saw greed and people being taken advantage of. He saw barriers. The money changers and merchants had turned His house of prayer into a den of thieves. The priests and those tending the temple allowed it to happen, and Jesus was having none of it!

Sadly, the same thing is happening in churches today. Leaders can be greedy and self-serving. They can put up barriers to worship. When this happens, people are exploited and taken advantage of. Maybe you attended a church like that. Maybe you still feel some of those barriers to worship today. How does the way Jesus responded at the temple complex give you confidence that He is still actively trying to remove those barriers from the church and from your life?
We are blessed that The Ridge is not one of those churches. Our vision is, and has always been, to help people grow with God and grow with others. While we don’t always get everything right, we do not tolerate barriers that keep people from freely knowing and worshiping the Lord!
Author: Bruce Lane, Executive Pastor