Bible Commentaries give two specific events that Jesus was involved in on Monday before His crucifixion of what is now known as Holy Week. Jesus entered the city humbly and triumphantly on Sunday and then cleansed the temple area of money changers and withered a fig tree. Both actions seem harsh, but they give a picture of the worldly opposition to God’s kingdom. From both we get a glimpse of divine justice. You can read the accounts in Matthew 21 and Mark 11.
Jerusalem at Passover was a bustling city with many thousands of pilgrims arriving to make offerings at the temple. They needed to purchase animals for sacrifice and change money so they could pay the yearly temple tax. The exchanges were all being conducted in the outer court of the Gentiles. Here is Matthew’s account from 21:12-14.
12-14 Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants. He quoted this text:
My house was designated a house of prayer;
You have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them. (Message)
Jesus was then, is now and will be in eternity the Righteous Judge. He saw the true motives of the people desiring to make money exorbitantly and uprooted and cast them out literally. He placed a priority on prayer and worship when coming to God’s house. He got right to the work of His ministry, healing and allowing access to God for everyone.
As we near the cross, take heart from this short snippet in Jesus’ last week. Know that He came to save and set right relationships and motives towards God. What attitudes do you need adjusted by Jesus today? Do you attend church to make ‘connections’ with people for business or do you come to pray and reflect on your walk with Jesus? Looking at the heart is what Jesus did then and does now in our lives through the Holy Spirit. Let Him cleanse your heart today and put you on the right pathway with right motives. May our hearts be right with God today as suggested in this quote by Charles Wesley “Make My Heart a House of Prayer”.
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, God is accessible to me through prayer and I can trust in His righteousness. I can claim the truths of Philippians 4:6-7 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Thank you Jesus for making yourself accessible through prayer, your unsurpassed peace for my heart, and for your redemptive sacrifice.