On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. Mark 11:15-16
At the time that Jesus lived on earth, the temple in Jerusalem was an architectural wonder. People came from everywhere to see it. Jews from all over Europe and Asia traveled there to sacrifice and to experience God.
The temple was set up with various levels of access. People who were not Jewish were only allowed in the outer court. Jewish women were allowed in the next courtyard. The levels of access progressed with Jewish males, priests and finally the High Priest who could access the Most Holy Place in the inner recesses only once a year.
What had begun as a system of welcoming God to live among His people turned into a system for turning people away from God. Jesus was constantly challenging the religious leaders and teachers of His time, accusing them of making it impossible for people to truly find a relationship with God.
What He saw in the temple angered Him greatly. They had turned access to God in the temple into a money-making venture. His violent outburst of throwing out the commerce in the temple was one of the acts that convinced the high priest that Jesus was a serious threat to the established religion.
Jesus came to break down the false barriers that stand between people and God. When we set up religious systems or rules that keep people from God, we are acting just like the money changers in the temple. God longs for every human to belong to Him. We must pray that God will guide our actions and our words so that we lead people to Him and not turn them away.
Love in Christ,
Greg Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church
Siler City, NC