45 When Jesus entered the temple courts, he began to drive out those who were selling. 46 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be a house of prayer’; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” 47 Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. 48 Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words. (Luke 19:45-48)
Passion Week presents a great opportunity to reflect on all that Jesus does for us. As a secondary objective, we can also reinforce some of the lessons we have learned about the Disciplines during our 40 days journey.
Yesterday we observed how Jesus related to his countrymen with deep compassion. Today we observe how he related to a subset of his countrymen, the religious establishment. Throughout His entire time on earth Jesus and the religious establishment did not see eye to eye. Passion Week was no different. Interestingly, the religious establishment professed to practice the Disciplines but Jesus saw right through them.
Please read the passage and answer the questions below.
- How would you characterize spiritual acts that would provoke the kind of response displayed by Jesus in the temple?
- Based on the passage, what are some pitfalls we need to guard against as we attempt to practice the Disciplines?
March 22, 2016 at 6:55 am
Idolatry is the first thing that comes to mind. The merchants in the temple, religious leaders and even the worshippers were putting financial gain, legalism and convenience before obedience to God.
Putting our self higher than God in anyway is the biggest pitfalls for me. Unfortunately it’s so much a part of my nature, that without conscious effort I might miss it. Open my eye Lord and remind me daily not my will, not my agenda, not my timing, not my convenience, not my conforty (scary prayer to pray) BUT Your will oh Lord be done in and through me.
March 22, 2016 at 9:31 am
‘For it is written be holy because I am holy (1 Peter 1:16 NIV). Irreverent, self seeking, ungodly behaviour would provoke the kind of response displayed by Jesus in the temple. Jesus would also eschew religiosity as it can make one hard, cold and calculating even as one remains steadfast to the rules and traditions of the Church.
March 22, 2016 at 9:37 am
I would describe these spiritual acts that would cause Jesus to behave this way as “corruption”. So how then can spiritual acts be corrupted. If I use prayer to slander someone who trusted me with information, if I think myself more highly because of how much I can give than I do the receiver, if I love only those who love me, if I don’t forgive because I sit in a place as judge, if I worship the created instead of the creator.
I think for me one of the greatest pity falls to properly practicing the disciplines would be myself, the moment my vision of Christ becomes squired even slightly (for whatever reason) I start to do “me” and then I can loose the plot.
March 22, 2016 at 2:45 pm
In case you missed it, Jesus drove those who were selling in the temple courts, a common activity of the day done by common people. This activity would have assisted travelers to the city to purchase items for sacrifice during the celebrated feasts, and because of the different currency used among travelers, money changers were necessary. This could have been a great opportunity of spiritual service to aid those who came to make sacrifice. Instead the whole act was corrupted an the benefactors were the sellers. That which was needed and expected was turned into a despised exercised for both seller and buyer.
A well intended act of service can change so quickly when the wrong motive is applied. A public prayer offered, a love offering given, hospitality shown, a talent displayed, can all be frowned upon by our Lord if we seek selfish gain or cause those in receipt to turn away from the Lord because of our self interests.
Even as I write this I too have to be alert to guard against turning opportunities of spiritual service into opportunities of personal gain.