Matthew 21:12-17 – An Angry Jesus

Read Matthew 21:12-17

The steeple of Emanuel African Methodist Church, Charleston, SC

Have you ever arrived home only to find your dog had chewed up the couch or destroyed your favorite pair of shoes? We’ve all seen pictures of children covered in flour sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor or having made a clown face on their younger sibling with mom’s favorite lipstick. What would be your reaction to the unexpected?

Perhaps you could keep your cool. Perhaps you would blow up in anger. In today’s reading Jesus made his way to the temple. That’s nothing particularly surprising. However, when Jesus saw how the Temple had been transformed into something he was not expecting, he came unglued. Jesus got mad. You might say he had a bit of a tantrum.

I don’t know about you but I certainly have a hard time imagining Jesus angry. Do I understand his frustration at what he saw in the temple? Absolutely! I’m sure he made his point abundantly clear. The temple was to be a holy place. A place for prayer. It wasn’t meant to be a meat market filled with items for sale.

What were the people thinking? They seemingly had lost their respect for the temple. Do we see a similar trend today? Is God’s house used for purposes unrelated to church matters? In some cases you could say so. Some churches have rented out their building for other purposes to show community involvement and acceptance. Is that okay?

If we were to follow Jesus’ example we would keep the church/temple holy. For events other than worship services, which include weddings and funerals, the church should be careful. Bible instruction classes, Bible studies, church fellowship meals, outreach meals, outreach programs all seem to me to be important.

Churches should be safe havens for sinners. We should always feel welcome in God’s house. Some churches are so inward focused that the new person never feels welcome. To me that is where a lot of churches are dropping the ball. Then there are others that so overboard on their welcoming and follow up that some people feel suffocated and want to run the other way.

So how did this passage speak to you today? Take some time to reflect.

Let’s pray. Lord, I pray for our church and ask that for your blessing of abundance. May we be listening for your direction. We do keep your house holy and do not abuse it for selfish gain. We do want to be a safe place for all sinners. Help us do a better job at outreach. May we serve in a way that pleases you. In Jesus’name. Amen.

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