With Tender Grief and Anger
With Tender Grief and Anger
Words of Faith 1-2-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2018
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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 As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it  and said, "If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace--but now it is hidden from your eyes.  The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.  They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
 Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling.  "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
As Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem for the last time in His earthly ministry, He expressed two very powerful yet tender emotions. The first was grief.
We sometimes miss the fact that Jesus announced prophetically the judgment that would come upon the city of Jerusalem. He vividly predicted what we now know as history.
Thirty seven years later, in 70 A.D., the Roman Emperor Titus got fed up with the Jewish rebellions. He built and embankment to encircle Jerusalem. Then he utterly destroyed the Temple, the city and all the inhabitants. Jesus was clear about why this would happen. "You did not recognize the time of God's coming to you."
It was with enormous grief that that Jesus announced what was coming. Like Jeremiah the "weeping prophet,” we hear that judgment comes with tears from our Lord. Those who pronounce judgment without grief or pronounce judgment with self righteous gloating, do not pronounce the judgment of God. They pronounce their own judgment. The judgment of God is a grievous and painful thing.
There was a second powerful emotion. Jesus expressed anger over the squalor of His Father's house.  Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling.  "It is written," he said to them,” 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
Jesus was filled with a righteous indignation as He entered the Temple. The first thing He did, before starting to teach or engage anyone, was to take care of something that had been bothering Him for years. Jesus was angry about something that He has observed all His life, the abuse of the Temple for commercial profit. He came to cleanse that squalor.
Jesus has already angered half the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem, the Pharisees. Now he angered the other half, the Sadducees. The Sadducean families had exclusive rights to all concessions within the Temple. They had turned the Temple into an extremely lucrative business charging exorbitant prices to the traveling pilgrims.
The Law required that Jews make certain offerings and the Saducees decided what was acceptable, only animals from their businesses. The Law also forbade the use of pagan coinage so the Sadducee families gouged the travelers by exchanging foreign money into a Temple currency. This was all going on when Jesus visited the Temple at age twelve and at every visit since. Now Jesus acted to clear out the Temple and make a prophetic statement.
So what do we need to gather from this entry into Jerusalem? What did Jesus want to say to us? 1) I am in charge. Nothing is left to chance. 2) I am Messiah. 3) Judgment is coming upon those who do not recognize the time of God's coming to you. 4) I have come to cleanse what is mine.
In modern application we would surely observe that the Church is not a place for personal profit. It is one thing to have a fundraiser that benefits a mission, builds up disciples, and furthers the Kingdom of God by proclaiming the Gospel. This was not the type of table that Jesus overturned. But we must keep a watchful eye in our place of worship to guard against anything gets in the way of prayer, worship and study of God's Word.
There is a more important question here. Where is the Temple today? The Bible teaches that YOU are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). You and I are the place where God resides. Your mind and heart and soul are the dwelling place of God.
And so we might ask: Is the Temple clean? When Jesus walks into the Temple of your life what does He find there? Does He find a hundred little tables where you have sold out the holy place of His dwelling? Does He find things self-directed or God directed? Or does He find a place that is clean and ready for worship?
It is easy to point to a rummage sale at church and say: See there! Jesus would not like that. It is easy to make rules that are external to ourselves regarding buying and selling on church property and never look inside our own Temple. It is much more difficult to look within ourselves and ask: Are there some tables that Jesus needs to turn over in my own heart? Are there some vendors He needs to drive out?
Jesus, I receive Your presence in my life. Fill the temple of my heart with Your holy presence. Clear out anything that stands in the way of worship and communion with You. In Jesus' name.