I try to picture it, Jesus meek and mild, with a whip in His hand, driving out the men selling sheep and doves. If someone said the words together, Jesus and whip, I would normally envision Jesus being whipped by the Roman guards. But that is later in the story. Here it is Jesus with the whip, driving out the merchants selling animals and exchanging money. I imagine for our generation, the version that fits best is The Voice:
Jesus fashioned a whip of cords and used it with skill driving out animals; He scattered the money and overturned the tables, emptying profiteers from the house of God. There were dove merchants still standing around, and Jesus reprimanded them.
Jesus says, "What are you still doing here? Get all your stuff, and haul it out of here! Stop making My Father’s house a place for your own profit!"
It makes me stop to wonder, what would Jesus say about our churches if He came in? How much of what we do in church is for our comfort, for our profit, done with mixed motives? It happens gradually and we don't notice it happening. Of course Jesus can see what is happening in our churches. We need to read this with conviction. Not much angers Jesus, but He is angry here. When we gather to worship, it is holy to Him, set apart for God alone. Nothing is wrong with a marketplace, but God's love, and access to a relationship to Him, is not for sale. It is not for profit. Not ever.
The Jews watching were indignant and resented Jesus' interference with the status quo:
Some of the Jews cried out to Him in unison, "Who gave You the right to shut us down? If it is God, then show us a sign."
I forget as I read that Jesus looked like any other man. There was no large sign on His forehead "I AM GOD" for them to see. They did not know. John tells us previously in 1:11, He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him.
"You want a sign?" Jesus replies, "Here it is. Destroy this temple, and I will rebuild it in three days."
This gospel written by John is all about signs. These are the signs that told us that Jesus is God. None was greater than the sign of the rebuilding the temple in three days, because He was talking about His body. He was talking about His resurrection.
Jesus is God. He sees into our hearts to our motives of worship and service and all we do "in His name." We need to do it with pure motives. Not for ambition or profit or appearances. Only in faith and for the love of Him, and His children here.
Beloved, my motives are not always pure. You know that already, but I need to tell You. I need to confess it. Thank You for reminding me of how serious it is. Cleanse me and make my heart more pure for You.Thank You for forgiveness. Help me show it to others.