Jesus Cleanses the Temple of Injustices

Taken from a Red Rock News Article (March 1, 2024)
Rev. Dona Johnson | March 3, 2024

For many people, including many Christians,  their image and perception of Jesus is one of  meekness, gentleness and passive humility. And  that is a true picture of him. Jesus’ heart was  filled with mercy and compassion for people.  But many people forget to recognize the  assertive side of Jesus. For like any leader, it was  his assertiveness that allowed him to live his life  in total agreement—congruence with his faith.  Jesus spoke with a serious truthfulness— people’s salvation was at stake. His obedience  was unmatched and assertively flawless. And he  desired in the worst way that people live with a  zeal and a zest for God.  


     Being assertive means sometimes having  to admonish people but also being clear and  kind with one’s message. Many of us who are  risk avoidant when it comes to confronting  others in church, business and family, see  assertiveness as aggressive behavior. We often  fear our admonishment won’t be received well,  it might escalate the situation and or we might be disliked. Many of us due to our own shame  and guilt feel unworthy because of our own sins  to confront others of theirs. Some people  confuse accountability with judging others but  the two are worlds apart. The downside of our  reluctance to address issues not only  perpetuates unhealthy behavior but fractures  our Christian witness and leads people away  from Jesus rather than bring them closer.  Truthfully addressing inappropriate behavior  should not be done to provoke discord but 

instead is meant to cleanse, restore and nurture  a zeal and a zest for God. No family and its  members or a faith community is perfect and all  of us at one time or another needs to be  counseled and shown correctives. 

     Jesus knew that the early church (the  temple) in his day had turned corrupt. Its  leaders weren’t above bribing witnesses,  plotting murders or charging exorbitant prices  on the sale of animals for sacrifice. The spiritual  welfare of God’s people was at stake and being  sadly ignored. He saw the people whom he  dearly loved being exploited and led astray.  Some leaders turned a blind eye and a deaf ear  to these infractions. Thus, leading people away  from God and toward an empty institution of  rules, regulations and self-serving agendas.  

     In John 2:13-22, Jesus walks into the temple and flies into a righteous rage: throwing  furniture, wielding a whip, driving out the  moneychangers and merchants. A fire in his  belly and a jealous gleam in his eyes. Have you  ever stopped to wonder why Jesus was so  angry? His spiritual heart immediately  quickened and he admonished the sin of the  money changers. A deep injustice was being  executed. Jesus’ assertive words and actions  towards the Pharisees was meant to penetrate  their hardened hearts and spoke volumes to the  religious powers that be. Maybe the Temple was  starting to look like just any old Jerusalem flea  market. Maybe the worldly influence and the  ever-expanding emporium of the moneychangers was casting a dark shadow on  worship and God’s house. Maybe Jesus was  trying to shake things up so the church could  remember its radical mission to be in the world  but not of its values and practices.  

     Each of us must ask God to cleanse our  witness, our worship, and our relationships— again and again—in the same way Jesus  cleansed the temple. Oh that we would ask him to turn over the tables in our hearts, churches,  and organizations, sanctifying our motives so  that our deepest longing would be to worship  him. What tables would Jesus turn over in  today’s churches? Amen.