Three years earlier, Just after Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana, Jesus came to the Temple in Jerusalem and we saw Angry Jesus for the very first time. What caused Jesus’ anger? The Temple he approached looked more like a shopping mall than the house of prayer it was intended to be. Not only was commerce king, but the merchants were cheating people and loan sharks were abusing the people who were coming to worship.
Now, Jesus has made his way back to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast and when he gets to the Temple, he finds merchants stealing from the people…again! It’s one thing to anger the Son of God just as he is beginning his ministry and the future is bright, but this time he knows this is his last trip to the Temple. Not a good thing.
We don’t often think a lot about the angry side of Jesus, but over the past few weeks, I have been captivated by the things that angered Jesus. Religion gets angry when rules are broken, but Jesus was angry when the rules kept people from him. Jesus seemed to reserve his anger for those religious people that stood in the way of sinners coming to him – adulterous women, tax collectors, blind people, bleeding people, sick people and dead people. Here Jesus is angered by the fact that merchants were ripping off worshipers by overcharging them for animals that people sought for worship.
I want our church to be a place where people have a clear path to Jesus – a place where our customs and our culture opens pathways to Jesus instead of producing blockages. May the language we use, the music we sing and any activities we share all be openings to Jesus. Jesus came and cleared the Temple because it needed clearing. Since we are the temple today – our hearts, our lives, we might do well to check our own lives and see if we need to allow him to clear anything that could be a hindrance to a neighbor, a co-worker or a friend seeing Jesus.
Take a moment to reflect as you watch this video: