Jesus went up to Jerusalem at Passover and entered the temple (see John 2:13-17). What he saw appalled him. Merchants had taken over the house of God! He came seeking a house of prayer, and what he found was a preoccupation with the promotion, display and sale of religious merchandise. The religious leaders were counting their profits. Men of God had become peddlers of religious merchandise, running about promoting their goods.
Tables had been set up everywhere in God’s house to promote and sell sheep, oxen, doves, candies, incense and other merchandise for religious purposes. Money changing hands made the loudest noise in the house, money that was being made on God and religion.
What terrible pain caused our Lord’s compassionate heart to boil with holy anger? His great suffering caused his meek spirit to rage with righteous indignation. Can you picture that moment? With a whip in hand, our Lord stormed into the temple and began flailing in all directions, overturning the tables piled high with merchandise. He scattered the promoters, pitchmen and hucksters.
“Out!” he thundered. “Take these things away! Do not make my Father’s house a house of merchandise!” (John 2:16, NKJV). It was probably one of the most painful experiences in all his ministry, but he could not stand by and permit his Father’s house to become a den for religious thieves.
Are we willing to fellowship with Christ in this aspect of his sufferings today? Do we share his hurt at seeing God’s house once again being turned over to merchandisers? Will we be outraged by the horrible commercializing of the gospel? Will we feel his rage against spiritual hucksterism enough to withdraw from all such activities? Do we feel his hurt enough to renounce ministries that grind out merchandise just for the sake of making money?
Can we share his suffering at this point enough to stand against those who would turn God’s house into a theater or entertainment center for promoters? Can we grieve over all the profiteering on the name of Jesus? Can we get our eyes off the cash and back on the cross?