And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold,
saying to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer,'
but you have made it a den of robbers." (Lk. 19:45-46)
As I write this Daily Thought, it is Palm Sunday. This is the day we remember the first day of the last week of Jesus’ three-year ministry before he is arrested, crucified, and buried. On this day, two-thousand years ago, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, a symbol of peace, with a large crowd swarming around him waving palm branches and laying their cloaks on the ground in front of him as he went, shouting, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v.38). He then strolls into the temple and sees all the people selling sheep and oxen and pigeons and goes ballistic, making a whip and driving them all out of the temple, screaming, “It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer,' but you have made it a den of robbers.” What is worth noting is that nowhere in the Old Testament does God forbid the selling of animals in the temple. They weren’t violating a clear command. Then why is Jesus so upset? God should not have to command behaviors that should be obvious. The temple in Jerusalem was the house of God, considered to be the throne room of God on earth, the designated meeting place between God and his people, a place of worship. They were treating a place intended to be holy as common, a place intended to be sacred as profane. Sadly, many Christians today treat church much the same way the Scribes and Pharisees did.
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