April 3 – Holy Week Devotionals – Jesus Wreaks Havoc in Temple Courts


Read Mark 11:15-18

The video definitely would have gone viral.

Countless uploads to TikTok and Instagram and Facebook. It would have been the leading story on every local news station:


Clearly, He had had enough. What was going on was despicable. Shady. Sketchy. Downright exploitation.

Maybe a little background will help.

Jewish law required worshipers to pay a temple tax when they came to offer their sacrifices. But Judea was ruled by Rome, and so everyone had Roman coins, not Jewish coins. The “heads” on a Roman coin was a pagan emperor. That’s a “no go” for paying the temple tax. So, worshipers had to exchange their Roman currency for Jewish shekels.

Now you see the opportunity. Offer a service that exchanges the coins. Add on a little fee for your trouble. And there you go. Business and (exorbitant) profit at the expense of faithful, devout, and often poor worshipers.

But that wasn’t the only opportunity.

Some people walked a long way to Jerusalem to offer their animal sacrifices. Many didn’t or were unable to bring their animals with them. You don’t have to be an entrepreneur to see the opportunity here. Worshipers need animals to sacrifice. Temple vendor pop-up shops filled the temple courts, selling price-gouging worshipers and exploiting the poor.

The temple no longer resembled a “house of prayer”… it was more like a bazaar!

Greed was disrupting worship. And Jesus was having none of it.

Greed disrupts our worship, too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you’re exploiting the poor. All I’m pointing out is that, at the core of greed, is self. A desire for something you want.

When you worship, are you zealous for God’s glory or your personal gain?

For example, maybe you’ve caught yourself saying something like this, “I didn’t get anything out of the message today.” Or, “I didn’t like the music today.” Or “I don’t like it when that pastor speaks.”

Maybe in your personal time with Jesus you get distracted from your devotion. You end up making task lists, sending a text, start scrolling through social media… you get the picture. (Some of you are saying, “You had me at ‘task list’.”) You end up spending more time on your stuff rather than God’s.

Your Turn

There just might be some attitudes or expectations or behaviors or perspectives that are distracting your worship that you need to drive out. And I’m talking about both our public gatherings on Sundays and our personal time with the Lord daily.

There might even be some behaviors you have that are inconsistent with being a worshiper of God, and they are distracting others from worshiping.

Can you identify what those might be? What’s getting in the way of you experiencing God’s presence? Are you willing to repent of them and drive them out?

By the way, since this is Monday, what was your personal worship like yesterday? Were you distracted? Were you thinking about gains for yourself or glorifying God? Maybe you and God need to have a talk.

*If you’d like a downloadable version of this devotional click here.

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