I was at a church wedding recently that really made me feel quite uncomfortable. All the usual components were there: the lovely bride, the handsome groom, flowers galore, music, the procession, the lighting of candles and the like.
What really set this wedding apart was the literal swarm of video cameras that totally intruded upon the scene. They were everywhere. The ones in the congregation were not that obtrusive. What really “took the wedding cake” were the six people that stood on the platform at the same time recording the event. During the exchanging of the vows, the “official” video person peered with his huge camera and spotlight right over the shoulder of the minister as the couple committed their lives to one another!
Call me old school, but several times during the ceremony I mused that this is how Jesus must have felt when He entered the sacred Temple and saw the changing of the money there. At that time worshippers from all over the world would come in order to buy the animals necessary to sacrifice for their sins. In order to buy the animals, currency from the different nations had to be exchanged for the unique coinage of the Temple. This provided the priest with the opportunity to not only defraud the worshippers in the exchange rate, but to sell animals as well. Kickbacks to the priests were common and the Temple grounds were often filled with anger as the humble worshippers were “fleeced” by the sellers.
Contemporary artist often portray Jesus as the nicest, most loving and meek person in the universe, and rightly so. But sometimes a person has to do what a person has to do. Showing an uncommon forcefulness and authority, Jesus made it clear that this unholy traffic was to be completely vacated from the Temple: “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” John 2:16.
The cleansing of the Temple in Jerusalem was but a symbol of how Jesus longs to cleanse our own soul temples. Pride, selfishness, impurity and anger are but a few of the many poisonous things that intrude upon our devotion to God and our love for one another. Take these things away! Can’t you just imagine Jesus coming into your heart and getting rid of all those hurtful things that have taken up residence there? It’s simple to see.
When Jesus enters, the things that have plagued our lives for so long are driven away, no longer to return. And in the place of sins destructive ills there is the Spirit of peace abiding in the heart. Now that’s a moment worth capturing!