photo 14Luke 19 verses 45 & 46. “Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. “’It is written, “ he said to them, “’My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it a ‘den of robbers’”

When Jesus entered the city he went directly to the temple. This was a fulfilment of Malachi 3 v 1. This was God’s anointed King going to the temple in Jerusalem the source of all the blindness in Israel. And what was the cause of the blindness and the spiritual malaise that gripped the city? Robbers had taken over the temple of God. The temple services had become commercialised.

All the required birds and animals should have been left to the secular trade. But the temple authorities allowed this trading to go on in the temple courts and furthermore they profited from them. It was inappropriate and also scandalous. These temple authorities should have been priests helping people to find true worship and to be blessed by God. But it seems they had become middle men, who used their priestly positions to make money out of people’s quest for God.

In this way they robbed people. How could people experience the grace of God through the services of men whose aim was to make money out of others’ spiritual need? They also robbed God because they treated his sacraments as a stock-in-trade for business, and his people as a market out of which they could make money.

Thus it was in great indignation that Jesus drove them out of the temple. Please note that Jesus did not lose his temper, as some often say, nor did he merely become angry in the sense that we become angry with each other. This incident has been much misunderstood by people and some have used it to point out that even Jesus was flawed in some way. Rather this incident is to be seen as a foretaste of that holy wrath which was to overtake the entire city and the temple some years later, when God’s judgement visited Jerusalem.

In this incident Jesus draws the line in the sand very clearly between himself and the temple authorities. The one group was determined to keep their status, power and income, while on the other hand the Messiah came to liberate people from all legalistic burdens and to reconcile them to God.

It is good for us to be aware of the way charlatans operate in the world of religion. They prey on people’s fears, hurts, hopes and longings. They may claim to be Christians or they may represent other faiths. Beware dear reader, and remember that the devil himself is able to appear as an angel of light.

If Christ is not central to their message; if his death on the Cross is not proclaimed; if Grace is not offered in his Name – then stay clear.