BRIDGES OR BARRIERS
When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching.
Mark 11:15-18 NLT
During Jesus’ last week before His crucifixion, He goes into the Temple and cleans house—literally. We see a side of Jesus not often mentioned in scripture. Most people see Jesus as meek and mild. Some interpret that image to mean that Jesus was weak and timid. But in today’s passage we see a side of Jesus that is anything but weak. Jesus decides to take on the religious establishment by cleaning out the Temple courts. In Jesus’ day there was an outer court to the Temple that had been turned into a marketplace by the religious leaders. They had developed a great scheme for making money. They taught the people you needed to bring approved sacrifices to come and worship God. To purchase their “approved” sacrifices you needed to use Temple money, not Roman money. So the people brought their Roman money to the money changers at the Temple to get Temple money. Then they took the Temple money and purchased the approved animals. The religious leaders made money on the exchange of money and the sale of the approved animals. It was a scheme to line the pockets of the religious leaders. This process of milking the people created a barrier for many people. They could not afford the exchange rates and the “approved” animals at the Temple. They were forced to skip worshipping God because they did not have the financial resources. Jesus was angry because instead of the Temple being a bridge between God and man it had become a barrier. This was to be the place where people met with God to find forgiveness and direction for their lives. Instead, it had become a profit center for the religious elite. Jesus gets angry today if we build barriers in our churches to keep certain people out. If we force people to look a certain way, have a certain skin color, or vote our way to join us in worshipping God then we are building barriers instead of bridges. Let’s be sure we are building bridges to the lost, the hurting, the neglected, the addicted, the broken, the lonely, and the rejected. God’s house should be a house of prayer for all people. Everyone is welcome to come and connect with a living God.
Holy Spirit help my life to always be working to bring people to Your house to encounter You.
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