45 And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold, 46 saying to them, "It is written, `My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers." 47 And he was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the principal men of the people sought to destroy him; 48 but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people hung upon his words.
ReflectionWhy did Jesus drive out the money changers in the temple at Jerusalem? Was he upset with their greediness? This is the only incident in the Gospels where we see Jesus using physical force. Jesus went to Jerusalem, knowing he would meet certain death on the cross, but victory as well for our sake. His act of judgment in the temple is meant to be a prophetic sign and warning to the people that God takes our worship very seriously.
In this incident we see Jesus' startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right – in the house of God no less! T
heir robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor. In justification for his audacious action Jesus quotes from the prophets Isaiah (Isaiah 56:7) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 7:11). His act of judgment aims to purify the worship of God's people and to discipline their erring ways.
Despite the objections of the religious leaders, no doubt because Jesus was usurping their authority in the house of God, the people who listened to Jesus teaching daily in the temple regarded him with great awe and respect. Luke tells us that "they hung upon Jesus' words" (Luke 19:48). How hungry are you for God's word?
If we approach God's word with a humble attentive heart and with a willingness to be taught by the Lord, then we are in a good place to allow God's word to change and transform us in the likeness of Christ. The Lord wants to teach us his ways so that we may grow in holiness.
The Lord both instructs and disciplines us in love to lead us from the error of our sinful ways to his truth and justice. "God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness" (Hebrews 12:10).
The Lord calls us to be a holy people who worship him with reverence and gratitude for his great mercy and kindness towards us.
Do you allow God's word to transform you in his way of love and holiness?