Whipped out of the Temple.
Often today our picture of Jesus is always smiling, happy and looking at the best side of life and in many ways this is correct. However, John paints a quite different picture in John 2:13-22. He quickly moves to show us a Jesus who shows righteous anger, who is outraged and not afraid to make a scene when necessary. For him this was very much a necessary moment - a place set apart for the gathering of the people and reading of scripture was now turned into a market place. He was in Jerusalem for passover whilst in the temple there where some people selling goods - sheep, pigeons and oxen. He overturns the tables and states: “Do not make my fathers house a house of trade” (John 2:16). During the time of the Herodion Temple the buying and selling of animals for the sacrifices had become big business. The Temple court had become a market place rather than a place to gather for worshiping God.
This is such an important story that all of the four gospel have this story in it.
One of the questions we should always ask when reading the bible is: What does that mean for me today? How can I apply this in my life?
Firstly, I think we can literally apply this story. When we should be gathering as the church thats should not be an opportunity or an environment for the selling and buying of goods to earn money for individuals or the church. The people in Jesus’ time had got distracted from meeting together to sell and buy for their own advantage. We should never do likewise fail to meet together because we are seeking for our own selfish ambition.
Secondly, i think this can be taken step further as well. While we are most likely not involved in commerce at church we too may not be honouring the Father’s house. Are you texting during worship? Maybe you take a few moments during the sermon to check emails. Maybe you and your spouse are deciding where to eat after church. Maybe you are just going over your “to-do” list for the coming week. We can find many ways to disrupt or ignore our worship of God. No one is going to show up with a whip to drive us out, but maybe someone should.