Matthew 21:12-17 has Jesus tossing tables and taking names. He sees the deals going down in the Temple and gets ticked. What’s happening is that people have set up shop to sell animals for sacrifice in the Temple. You are expected to sacrifice a bird, a lamb, a calf, etc. for different sins. So, some folks set up shop selling animals. But it’s like buying a $29 lunch at Kings Island, they are charging premium prices for the animals and turning a huge profit. On top of it, the church had created it’s own currency that the guys selling the animals required you to pay with. So, you had to go change your real money for play church money, and then buy the overpriced animals. When you changed the money, the church charged a handling fee for the transaction. All of this was being done in the name of God to poor people trying to worship.
Jesus got ticked and let it fly. But He had seen this His whole life. Was it that He just now got mad about it? Did He snap? No. It was planned to lead up to His death at the end of the week. Notice how this story is followed with four groups of people approaching Him. The blind, the lame, children, and religious teachers all come to Him. The people who couldn’t see knew He was God. The ones who couldn’t walk made their way to Him, often crawling. Children, who were considered inexperienced and stupid recognized Him as the son of God. The super-religious, I’ve-followed-God-my-whole-life guys missed Him completely. And the whole cleaning the temple was a set up to get every one’s attention.
What version of God did the people want? The industry that made everything clean and simple and robbed them blind, or the risky, homeless, impossible to control Son of David who asked so much from them? Which would it be?
We face the same option. We can go to church, read the Bible, and do good things and follow a religion that can rob us blind of our faith. Or we can chase after Jesus, know Him through every way He offers, and sacrifice it all to be more like Him. It’s our choice as well.
By the end of the week, everyone would vote, not with a check mark in a box, but with a cross.