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 from21:12-14.
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.
Both the Old and New Testaments, present God as Judge. He is the ultimate authority of all the universe He created both now and in the future. In Psalm 7:10-11 David tells us that God is a righteous judge who defends those who love Him and grieves over the sin of those who reject Him. “My shield is with God,who saves the upright in heart. 11 God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day.” All creation speaks of God’s righteousness and place as judge, Psalm 50:6 “The heavens declare his righteousness, for God himself is judge! Selah Solomon in his wisdom knew God’s place as judge, Ecclesiastes:3:17. “I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked, for there is a time for every matter and for every work.” Paul reminds Timothy that Jesus will be our eternal judge in 2 Timothy 4:1 “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:” Peter also wrote to Christians who were struggling with holiness in their lives. He reminds them of who God is and who they can rely upon in Christ. “1 Peter 1:17-20 “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile,18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
We can trust God as the righteous judge as we know He is just, impartial and loves all those He created. God knows what He is doing and has proved himself to mankind in the past, 2 Peter 2:9 “then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment.” Peter was referring to God rescuing righteous Lot and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. If he could do that for Lot, He is capable of handling anything. He is righteous and sees who we really are in our deepest being. We can rely upon His mercy, compassion and justice.
Many people like to only think of God as loving, holy and righteous, but God is so much more, and as creator He has the right and authority to judge all sin. He made a way for us to escape the judgement of sin in our lives through Jesus and His work on the cross. 1 John 9:11 tell us how we can find freedom from the judgement that is upon all the world because of sin. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confess your sins today, keep short accounts with God and do not let sin stay in your heart and reject it from your life through power of Jesus. He is the perfect judge, just in all things and He desires for us to stand righteous before Him.