“Jesus entered the temple of God and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple and he over the tables of the moneychangers…” Matthew 21
What a contrast to the joyous Palm Sunday parade where everyone was waving their palm branches and singing their praises to Jesus! One moment that is festive celebration with triumph, hope, and rejoicing.
And then Jesus enters the temple, throws over tables and shouts at the money changers. “You have made this a den of robbers.”
Ouch. Way to ruin a mood.
Sometimes people try to use this passage to determine what fundraising activities should or shouldn’t be run by the church. Raffles – yea or nay? Bingo? What about bake sales on Sunday? Can one set up tables of wares in the sanctuary or is that crossing the line?
But this story is about more than how good-hearted folks try to earn money for their struggling congregations.
This is about focus. It’s about paying attention and how we spend our time. The money-lenders and salespeople were in “the temple of God” and were completely unaware. They were so focused on the business at hand that they were oblivious to the Spirit of God moving in and through that holy place.
Jesus puts a stop to that. It makes me think of a parent who finds their child endlessly playing computer games inside on a beautiful day. The parent may unplug the computer or stash the laptop in the closet and say, “Go outside!” Why? Because you are missing a blessing. And you are causing other people to miss that blessing as well.
The story invites us to consider – what is pulling us away from God? What is distracting us? What is consuming our attention without feeding our soul? What would Jesus toss out of our life if we would allow him access?
During Holy Week, we remember Jesus’ journey to the Cross. God is about to act in magnificent ways. Jesus doesn’t want people to miss that. What can we put aside so we will be more aware of God’s blessings and God’s calling in our lives today?
Here is a lovely prayer about this Scripture by Rev. Maren Tirabassi.