In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” John 2:14-17 ESV
This scene is one of my favorites from the Gospels. The context of the scene really gives the reader the full story of what Jesus ministry was teaching God’s people. God had come to live amongst His people and teach them in person who He is and what He wants from His people. As Jesus enters the Temple He sees just how far astray the peoples “religion” had gone and He reacts to it.
Every time I read this passage I wonder how Jesus would react if He walked into one of our congregations today. I think this is a question we have to ask ourselves on a regular basis. One thing you’ll notice about the times that Jesus is confrontational is when He is dealing with the religious leadership. The reasons they are confronted is that they have missed the intent of God’s word and have twisted it to their own purposes.
Those that teach God’s word today and lead others must be very careful not to follow in the footsteps of leaders like the ones Jesus confronts. Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1 ESV
Not many years after this interaction, the temple was destroyed and the priesthood was dissolved. Leadership of God’s people was taken away and given over to others, with Jesus as their head. This lesson shows us that we must be careful in how we serve our God. It is important that we know Jesus teachings and apply them as they were intended.
So today, let’s remember who is in charge. Let’s follow Jesus teachings so that we know we are doing what is right in the sight of our heavenly Father. Let’s teach others to do the same.
© 2013 Leo J. Woodman