And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
This is a story we’ve all heard before. It’s a classic children’s Bible story. Jesus cleanses the temple.
Matthew’s account above from chapter 21 is the shortest of them all, but he get’s the point across: defending the house of God is worth the fight. Throughout the Gospels, Jesus shows us how children of God should live, but I have never heard anyone say that because Jesus went nuts over the way that the temple was being treated, we should do the same.
But we should do the same.
Most of us live pretty easy lives. Yes we may have trials. Yes we may have quarrel or two. But in general, we’ve got it easy. The dangerous thing about living like most of us do is that we forget we’re in a fight. We forget that each day we wake up in need of the armor of God because there is a battle raging inside of us and all around us.
Inside, Christians wrestle with their two natures, the spirit and the flesh. The spirit, having been renewed by God in Christ, longs for the things of God. The flesh longs for us to give ourselves to the temptations we regularly face. When we get comfy and forget about this very real and difficult fight, we fall into sin. Our temple, built for God’s glory, is turned into a den of robbers.
Outside, the church of God has been called to go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel. Sin and death have ruled in the world since the fall and Jesus has called His people to fight for the salvation of others. We’re called to proclaim that sin and death have been defeated at the cross and that there is a way that leads to freedom and life. The fight comes when we realize that everyone else really enjoys their life away from God, unable to see their need for Jesus.
So no, maybe we won’t be turning over tables in our church court yard any time soon, but we have to remember that our souls, and the souls of those around us are worth fighting for, and we have been called to take up that fight.