Nobody likes to get ripped-off. I’d like to think I’m savvy enough to walk away from price gouging schemes when I see them. For instance, I’m not in the market for a diamond studded puppy bathtub — for only $39,000. A set of dominoes for $147,000 sounds exorbitant, even if they are solid gold. Or how about a 2.5 million dollar 18-karat gold toilet?
Rip-offs come in smaller versions as well. I admit to being swindled by bottled water, movie theater popcorn, and pre-cut produce. It’s hard to refuse a hotdog at a major league baseball game, even if it is $7 (an 80% markup!).
Rip-offs are nothing new. Back in first century Jerusalem, money-changers set up shop in the temple to take advantage of pilgrims coming to worship. They were required to trade their currency for “temple” coins — at an exorbitant rate of exchange. Lambs the travelers brought for sacrifice were deemed “imperfect” and they were forced to buy the high priced animals approved by the chief priests. This shady business done on temple grounds desecrated the holy site, not to mention all the sheep and cattle poop.
“Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area…’How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market.'” John 2:13-16
Want to know what ticks Jesus off?
Religion that doesn’t care about people.
Using a form of worship for financial gain.
Taking advantage of poor, underprivileged folks.
Man-made rules that make it harder to draw near to God.
Turning the house of prayer into a commercialized shopping mall.
Jesus made a whip.
He poured the coins out.
He overturned the tables.
He set free the sacrificial lambs.
He drove them all out of the temple.
Jesus took the lashes from a Roman whip.
He poured out His blood to pay for our sin.
He overturned the religion of salvation by works.
He set us free from condemnation by becoming the Lamb.
He drove out the power of hell, death and Satan.
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit?”
1 Cor. 6:19-20
Dear Lord, where have I sold out to the world?
Come into my heart.
Drive out all that is cheapening my worship.
Overturn all that distracts me from pure devotion.
Whip me into shape.
Cleanse this temple.
This week’s reading: John 2 (deeper study on 2:13-22)
Next week’s reading: John 3 (deeper study on 3:27-35)