This is Holy Week. The week before Jesus was crucified and rose again on Easter Sunday. It began with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. People lined the streets waving palms and proclaiming, “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” (Luke 19:38) Jesus wept as He approached the City of David, because He knew. He knew what was going to happen to Jerusalem and to Him. The first place He goes is to the Temple. Luke 19:45-48…
“Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices. He said to them, ‘The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.’ After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said” (Luke 19:45-48).
Faithful people needed to purchase an animal they could afford in order to fulfill their responsibility of offering a sacrifice. Those who came from foreign countries had to have their money changed into Temple currency because this was the only money accepted for the Temple tax and for the purchase of sacrificial animals. So, why drive out the merchants and moneychangers? Jesus had two reasons. First, the moneychangers often inflated the exchange rate, enriching themselves. Similarly, because it was Passover and they had a monopoly, many merchants also significantly inflated their prices of their available sacrificial animals. That worshipers had to change their money and purchase an animal was not what angered Jesus. The extortion that the moneychangers and merchants perpetrated on their customers did. Secondly, the moneychangers and merchants set up their stalls in the Court of the Gentiles, frustrating non-Jews, who had come to worship God. Jesus was angry because God’s house of worship had become a place of extortion and a barrier to Gentiles who wanted to worship.
Do not let anything be a barrier from worshiping God. I know a lot is going on right now, but do not be distracted. Especially this week! Offer your sacrifice of worship. Sing songs of praise. Lift up your prayers. Spend time in His Word. Coronavirus or not, Christ has come! And He remains the bread of life!
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