Well, we have arrived at the Passion Week. This is the week where we get to celebrate and remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us on that cross so long ago and His resurrection three days later! Yesterday we remembered and celebrated His triumphal entry into Jerusalem as King of Kings! Many of you are familiar with the Maundy Thursday remembrance of the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and we also have the remembrance of Good Friday, the day that Jesus was crucified. It all culminates on Sunday morning as we will get up and celebrate the victory that Jesus accomplished over sin and death through the power of His resurrection from the dead! It is an awesome week of remembering and celebrating Jesus and His teaching. There is one day, though, that often gets overlooked. I like to call it “Table flipping Monday.”
Mark tells us in chapter 11 that on the following day, “he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, ‘Is it not written, My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.’ And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.” Mark 11:15-19
We may be familiar with this account, but how often during the week leading up to Easter do we stop to really meditate on what Jesus was doing when he entered the temple. Remember, just the day before, Jesus came riding into Jerusalem being heralded as the coming King! Imagine Jesus riding into our town today. Here comes the Messiah, the Savior, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords. What does He do upon arriving in town? He heads straight up the road to our church! What an awesome blessing that would be! What would He think upon entering? Would He look around and be impressed by the style of the decorations? Would He be moved by the amount of information available about all the different ministries offered by the church? Would He be clamoring to sign up for the next big outreach event that was planned? None of those things are bad things to have in a church, but I believe that Jesus would look right through all these things and see the heart behind them.
When He entered the temple, the people at those tables were not simply providing a public service for those who were needing to purchase animals to offer sacrifices. These were animals that were marked up to high prices, possibly animals that were flawed, animals that did not meet the specifications of the sacrificial system as outlined in the Mosaic Law. This was being done to take advantage of the people who didn’t have animals to bring for sacrifices. The people manning these tables were most likely making a significant profit off every sale. So, when Jesus saw this, He had a righteous anger toward what the people had done to the house of the Lord.
I challenge all of us today, take some time to examine the heart of all the things that we do at and in our churches. Are these things honoring and glorifying to God? Or are we doing them for other reasons? Are there some tables in our churches today that need flipping in order to line us up with the heart of Jesus? Or maybe take the challenge even more personally. Scripture tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Is there something in your heart today that is not honoring the Lord? There are times where things in our hearts need to be removed surgically and delicately, and then there are times when the Lord busts in and just starts flipping things over in our hearts in order to draw us closer in our walk with Him!
There is a worship song that has gained popularity over the last few years. It is called “Reckless Love.” There are some people though, who have criticized the song because of the idea of calling God’s love for us “reckless.” I am not here today to argue the semantics of that word, but I will say that to many, Jesus actions on that day in the temple probably appeared to be reckless. He was flipping tables and driving people out of the temple, all in the name of restoring God’s house to what it was meant to be. Are you willing to open your heart to Him today and allow Him to drive out the things that are in there that are not honoring and glorifying to Jesus? Even if He has to do it in a similarly reckless fashion?
Take some time today to reflect on your heart, what would Jesus find there? What would glorify Him? What would make Him swell in righteous anger and flip tables? If He shows you something that needs to be removed, give Him the free reign in your heart to remove it at all costs. And maybe, just maybe, we should be allowing Jesus to have the same authority and power in our churches as well.