“The Son of God got Angry and Cleaned House with Violence”
“He said to them, ‘The scriptures declare, My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17; NLT)
The day before had been Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. You can imagine the disciples riding high on the wave of Jesus’ popularity. By the end of the day they were probably thinking, “He must be wrong about then arresting and crucifying him. Everyone loves Him. We’ll soon be leading the charge against Rome.”
But, this morning will blow away their political dreams. The afternoon before, he had stepped in the temple long enough to verify that where there was supposed to be prayer and worship was a marketplace. The religious leaders were getting wealthy off the need of the people to have proper sacrifices and offerings. Last night in Bethany, while his disciples dreamed of political aspirations his heart and mind burned with what they were doing to his Father’s House. The Gospel of John adds that Jesus made a whip of small cords. This kind of whip would sting and leave welts without maiming. The Psalmist David, wrote in Psalm 39:3, “While I was musing the fire burned; then I spoke.” Jesus didn’t fly off the handle. No one had hurt his feelings. This was an unselfish, righteous anger that had grown from some time of contemplation.
However, when he gave that whip a loud crack to get their attention; he was one man filled with the wrath of God. All those armed temple guards just got out of his way. They knew he was right and had no strength or desire to stand against him. Turning over tables, making coins explode on the stone floors, busting open crates, smashing stock corals; he created a stampede of animals and people out the temple doors. His voice and words rang in the air above the commotion and noise. “My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have turned it into a dent of thieves.”
Jesus, the Word become flesh, was after all the one who had given Moses and David the designs for this house to be a dwelling place for His Presence.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, Apostle Paul reminds us that our bodies are now the temple of the Lord.
Lord, I invite you to come into the temple of my heart and radically and violently clean out any corruption that is in the way of filling me with your presence. And, make me a house of prayer and worship.
The Rev. Stephen C. Floyd, First Church of the Nazarene