As Jesus triumphant entry continued, you would think a king would head to the palace, to the center of political power, but instead the Gospel of Mark reveals that Jesus went the night before to the temple and then retreated until the next morning. The people he observed felt like they…
Deserved a Religious Experience and instead they got a Divine Encounter (Matthew 21:12-15) 12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”Why is Jesus so mad? The Passover had gone from seeing God’s glory to glorified big business. The foreign believers upon arriving at the Gate of the Gentiles would have been hit by the expansive marketplace. Long lines weaving around as the people were forced to exchange their local currency for temple currency, of course at a substantial loss, they would pay their temple tax which was substantially inflated, and they would buy their sacrificial animals at a substantial premium. Long lines and little actual worship. Herod the Great had restored the temple; the setting looked religious, but lacked any realness.
The people should have been at the happiest place on earth, but instead got taken advantage of like nowhere else on earth. It reminds me of going to Disneyworld or Disneyland, dubbed for us the “Happiest Place on Earth,” home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto, and a host of princes and princesses, castles and imaginary kingdoms. I remember the excitement of walking through the gate, getting the ticket punched, and boom this whole world is waiting behind the gate. Every flower was well manicured, every exhibit freshly cleaned, every employee had a painted on smile, kids were screaming by on a ride, families ate ice cream, it looked idyllic, perfect. Perfect until you looked below the surface, the happiest place on earth doesn’t charge $7 for a cheeseburger, $20 dollars for Mickey ears, $25 for a t-shirt, rides offering excitement became lines offering none, behind the bright lights were props and recordings…What looked perfect couldn’t actually fulfill the promise.
The Messiah had other plans: 14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant. Jesus had cleared the temple, and at the same time filled it! Today have you come for a religious event or for a divine encounter? Maybe you are here today because church made your list of things you have to do to be a good person, or you are looking to get zapped by God, the mountain-top experience, but Jesus makes it clear that church isn’t for good people, it is where broken people find a great God who is willing to heal us—renew us—and empower us!