13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. 15Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ 17His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ 18The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ 19Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ 20The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ 21But he was speaking of the temple of his body. 22After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Why was Jesus so upset with the merchants at the temple? Some interpreters of scripture propose that that the merchants were cheating people by selling damaged merchandise. Some of the worshippers had come from such far distances that they could not bring a lamb or dove wit Others propose that the problem was not that the business practices were not fair, but that the entrance to the place where God was worshipped had been turned into a farmer’s market. Can you imagine the cries of the competing merchants trying to draw the customers to their market tables? With all of the noise and hubbub, it would be fairly easy to be distracted from the purpose of the day: to worship the Creator and to seek His face. Too much distraction happening too often may turn a sacred ritual into an empty routine.
What do we walk through today as we go into worship? As we get on our knees to pray today, or stop for a prayer break at work or at school, can we leave behind our priorities for the day and tune in to God? Or do the distractions of our worldly business draw us away from our reasonable service? (Romans 12:1-2) Let us examine our hearts to search to see if the joy of our worship has gradually become a monotonous routine. Are we meeting God there, or are we just there?
God, search us and try us, and restore to us the joy of our salvation.
Rev. Tonna Gibert Rose
Kairos Community AME Church