13 And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.
17 And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
We as people are known by our families, friends and loved ones by certain defining characteristics; some of us have a very cheerful demeanor, others are of a talkative nature, some are insatiably curious, and there are those of us who are considered loners. There is a wide spectrum of such characteristics, nearly innumerable.
When you think of Jesus Christ, what defining characteristic comes to your mind? His graciousness, His uncompromising dedication to the truth? His holiness? These are easy to attribute to the LORD because "grace and truth come by Jesus Christ" (JOHN 1:17) and He is the Holy One of Israel (ISAIAH 1:4).
We see Him as loving, compassionate, kind and merciful. We don't always see Him angry - and many people find it difficult to imagine, but Scripture records such instances, as we see in our text today, and elsewhere (MARK 3:1-5; in MARK 10:14 He was indignant). What is it that makes Jesus angry? you might ask.
Of course we understand that when the LORD Jesus Christ returns to this world, He will be extraordinarily angry (IS. 63:1-4; REV. 14:19) for all of the injustice, oppression, rebellion and out right sin that has, and will continue to increase, in this fallen world of rebel souls who will refuse to repent (REV. 9:20-21; 16:9-11).
The LORD God is the HOLY JUDGE and because of this fact, He cannot ignore sin, or overlook it. Any judge who is true to His office must mete out justice no matter what. To do anything less would be objectionable; needless to say to temper judgment with appropriately dispensed mercy is always a good thing - but if justice is served, then "the punishment will fit the crime".
Too often people think of sin as "mistakes" and while they certainly are, they are far, far more than that! I have come to think of sin as treasonous evil against the Holy Throne of the King, the LORD God. In old times, if one committed treason against a monarch, it was punishable by death, no questions asked.
How much more severe would the punishment be for one who has committed unholy treason against the Holy God of all creation? This is why God is angry with sinners every day (PSALM 7:11) - because they continue to rebel against His authority. As well as this, because they refuse to come to the LORD Jesus Christ for salvation, when it was His own precious blood that was spilled on the behalf of sinners; yet they persistently step on that blood (HEB. 10:29)!
This is the essential reason why the TIME of JACOB's TROUBLE is destined to occur: this seven year period also known as DANIEL's 70th week, or commonly referred to as The TIME of the TRIBULATION (though technically its the latter three and a half years that is "great tribulation") - because sinful man refuses to repent and by this severity sent by the hand of God, many will turn to Him and receive salvation (REV. 7:9-14) through Jesus Christ!
In our text today, we see Jesus entering into the Temple - and what does He see? Merchandising of the most heinous kind: the Temple priests raised sacrificial animals that were pre-inspected and approved for sacrifice. Animals under Levitical law had to be pure and without blemish (consider for example, NUMBERS 19:2); but what these priests would do is inspect such animals that the people brought until they 'found' some blemish (imaginary or not) and declared such an animal unfit for the ceremony.
Then they would offer one of their own special animals and offer to sell them to the petitioner - for a price! Thus, we see how the religion of the day exploited people "in the name of God", ripping them off by taking advantage of their desire to worship and serve the LORD. Additionally, if the people decided to buy one of these Temple animals, they had to do it with Temple shekels and not foreign currency - and they had money changers on hand that would make the exchange for them - for an additional price!
I shudder to think of all the televangelists today who are in serious danger of judgment, for all the money they have raked in, in the name of God, likewise exploiting people's desire to worship and please the LORD!
The LORD becomes angry, but His anger is tempered - not crazily out of control - we know this because while angry, He made a cord of whips. Shepherds would sometimes fashion such devices while tending sheep, and use these scourges to repel wolves or other predators; they took a while to weave! Here the Good Shepherd of the sheep is about to chase out wolves that desire to devour God's own (MATT. 23:14)!
Notice also that when the LORD is angry, it's never for His own sake. Here He is angry for His Father's sake; in instances cited above, He is angry for the cripple's suffering or for the sake of children who weren't permitted to come to Him. We should take note of this: in the LORD's meekness, He is never angry for personal offenses or wrongs committed against Him - but always for the sake of others.
Here are two videos you may find helpful that pertains to meekness and what biblical meekness is all about:
MEEKNESS is NOT WEAKNESS but GREATNESS
Let us also consider that while the Temple in Jerusalem was defiled by such corruption, our own temple - our bodies and souls and spirits are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 COR. 6:19-20). May we ask the LORD to 'enter in' (in fact He already dwells there) and inspect our Temple and chase out anything that offends Him, for He has purchased us with His own blood. We belong to Him: our very being is "under new management" and any temptation Satan may bring our way constitutes a violation of trespass, since he is entering a territory that is now the property of Jesus Christ!
In the exercise of sanctification, let us post some "No Trespassing" signs against any attempt on the enemies part to infiltrate the temple of the Holy Spirit.
For more on this and related subject matter, consider the following article:
FROM The MIND of FIRE: ZEALOUS For The NAME Of The LORD
1 THESS 4:3-4
3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
4 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
2 PET 3:17-18
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.
18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.