Editor: This week is Easter Week, also called Passion Week and Holy Week. During each day this week, Every Day with God will focus on some of the events involving Jesus on the different days of this week, which ultimately led to His death and resurrection.
Read Mark 11:13-18
Do you know that God sometimes gets angry? When asked to describe God, people often say, “God is love.” And He is! But, contrary to what some believe, that’s not His only quality. Among many other ways He is described, God is also holy!
God is not some gentle, soft spoken grandfather-in-the-sky with a casual indifference to what is happening here on earth. When things in this world get radically twisted from what He planned, it angers Him!
Does it surprise you to learn that Jesus got angry? While walking from Bethany to Jerusalem on Monday of Holy Week, He cursed a fruitless fig tree. Jesus knew that fig trees bear fruit twice a year — in June and September. This was April. Even unripened fruit should have still been available for Him to eat, yet it was fruitless, so Jesus cursed the tree.
In the same way, the nation of Israel was professing to be fruitful and faithful (waving palm leaves as He entered their city), yet the Jewish people were fruitless in practicing their faith. Someone wrote, “Profession without practice was the curse of the Jews.” A few days later, the Jewish leaders would deny their King and crucify Him.
Nowhere is God‘s distaste for religious hypocrisy more evident than when Jesus cleansed the Temple on Monday of Holy Week. When He arrived at the Temple, he found the courts full of corrupt money changers. He began overthrowing their tables and cleared the Temple by saying, “My temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46). Apparently, the merchants had forgotten whose house the Temple was!
The events on Monday of Easter Week set up the events which happened on Thursday. By clearing the temple, Jesus criticized the leaders who allowed and promoted the activity happening in the Temple. He rebuked the religious leaders and told a parable meant to criticize them (Matthew 21:45-46).
The religious leaders had been concerned about Jesus before this, but His actions on Monday and Tuesday of Holy Week clinched it. They wanted him dead!
So why did Jesus flip the tables?
1. The religious leaders were turning what was supposed to be God’s house of prayer into a marketplace!
- It had even become a place where those selling animals and exchanging currency were ripping off the people. Greedy merchants probably cheated their buyers whenever they could, especially during the feasts when pilgrims from far away crowded the temple area.
- Was Jesus upset at the Temple becoming a market place? Sure! Was Jesus upset that there was dishonest gain and “robbery” happening in the market place? Absolutely. Was Jesus upset that the religious leaders of His day were part of the problem in the Temple? Yes! Most likely, it was a combination of all the above.
2. The market cut off the Gentiles from their place of worshipping the God of Israel.
- The court of Gentiles was a promised worship location for the Gentiles, built specifically in the Temple for those outside the Jewish faith to worship the God of Israel! They were supposed to be included, but were restricted by the practices taking place at the Temple.
Here are some crucial questions for all of us, based on these events from Monday of Easter Week:
- Do I create barriers in my life that distract people from seeing the presence of God?
- Does the profession of my mouth match the attitudes in my heart before God?
- Are my personal resources used in a wise, God-glorifying way?