Extended reading: none – keep going; we’re in the home stretch!
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”
What’s wrong with making a buck or two? Merchants in the temple worked in cooperation with the temple priests, to demand that visitors to Jerusalem coming to make sacrifices at the temple had to purchase approved sacrificial animals or exchange currencies at a high rate of profit. We expect that food or drink purchased at a stadium or airport will cost more than if we were able to purchase our own and bring it in. Rules are made for the sake of public safety, and there will be a price. But at a temple? The only beneficiaries are the priests and merchants.
People back then certainly realized they were being cheated, even if they were powerless to change the system. Jesus was making a stand that would further anger the priests and cause them to plot his murder. Jesus knew God’s will better than anyone, and could not continue to tolerate their wrong.
There are times any one of us needs to make a stand against injustice and flagrant cheating that only serves to benefit one party at the expense of another. May we seek to protect the vulnerable and downtrodden as we may, as we praise God for his justice and love.
We pray for those who are victims of injustice, for those stuck in poverty and taken advantage of, for anyone who has been unfairly cheated by power brokers and those hungry for more wealth. This is an unjust world. Thank you for Jesus who stands up for what is right, and challenges us to do the same. By faith, let us seek to treat others with fairness and respect. This we pray in Christ’s name. Amen.