Turning the Tables
****ALL VERSES IN NKJV****
**We are moving past verses 12-14, “the withered fig tree”. Matt will pick back up there so he can address it along with the explanation of the tree in verses 20-24, because they go together.**
– Sometimes I ask myself, “Am I preaching too soft?” Will my delivery of the Word cut someone to the core, and convince them that they need a Savior? Are they listening?! I hope so.
– I told Pastor Matt that he killed it last Sunday, and, how was I supposed to follow that?
– He said, “It’s okay, they like your preaching. They need a break from getting yelled at.”
– Sometimes we tease Pastor Matt about being a “Hangry” Preacher. (He’s hungry AND angry.)
– He is aggressive and loud, it could be mistaken for anger, but it’s really just zeal for the Word.
– He preaches every sermon like it’s his last, or YOUR last. (He’s not messing around!)
– We can’t just “go through the motions” as a church. We can’t forget what we are doing this for!
*You can hear a dozen sermons, but sometimes the preacher has to “get your attention” to get you to truly listen.
– It is now the religious festival season, and many travelers and people are coming to the temple in Jerusalem to make offerings and sacrifices.
– The Laws of Moses had some specific requirements for those offerings. (Temple tax, specific money offerings, unblemished animals for sacrificing, etc…)
– Travelers don’t have the ability to bring this stuff with them on their long journey, so they must by it when they get into town. There are merchants set up in the temple to fill this need.
– People come to honor God, just to be sold the required sacrifices at a huge mark up, basically price gouging them, and profiting off of their religious devotion.
– What they need to honor God gets exploited and loses its meaning. (Ex. Today’s holidays)
– They are a captive audience. (Ex. Disneyland $5 bottles of water. Can’t bring your own in…)
– Jesus shows up for Passover week, and he is ready to get some people’s attention!
Mark 11:15-19, 15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ” 18 And the scribes and chief priests heard it and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at His teaching. 19 When evening had come, He went out of the city.
- What is really going on here?
– Jesus has just returned from a 3 year mission, preaching, teaching, and sharing the will of God.
– He enters his “Father’s House” and it is full of salesman making money off of worshippers.
– The priests, the ones who are supposed to lead people to worship, are condoning it all.
– The temple is a place for worshipping and honoring God, not stealing money from people.
– Look at the heart condition of the sellers, not just their actions:
– This isn’t a bake sale, or left over t-shirts, or a missionary selling purses for donations…
– Example: selling communion elements, or selling tickets to approach the altar. Not allowing you to bring in your own bible, but you can buy or rent one inside.
– It’s not the “selling” part that is bad. It’s needed. They are taking advantage of the people!!
– What started out as a way to help people celebrate God, turned into a predatory business.
– Look at the heart condition of Jesus, not just his actions:
– Why turn over the tables? Because he needed to get their attention, and you can’t “money change” if you don’t have your table anymore.
– Why the whip? (John 2:15) Have you ever tried to get a cow to move out of the road?
– Contrary to popular opinion: Jesus was never described as being angry here.
– None of the gospels record this story as “Jesus being angry”. Anger is not mentioned here.
– John 2:17, Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.” (Synonyms: energy, passion, love, intensity… NOT anger.)
- Jesus was NOT the original “table-flipping Christian”.
– This story is often used as a time when Jesus lost his temper, wrecked stuff, but it was okay.
– Artwork and memes depict the violence, whip in hand, men cowering in fear, etc…
– Example: Blogs and articles circulate. “What would Jesus do? Grab a whip and flip some tables, apparently!” and “Yeah, I’m one of those table-flipping Christians.”
– If Jesus blew his top in an angry rage “for the right reasons”, then so can I, right? (wrong)
– Jesus DID get angry, but NOT this time:
– Jesus got angry about hardened hearts, and lack of faith, and corrupt Pharisees, and SIN!
– At no time did Jesus lash out in anger fueled actions, so why would it be that way now?
– These actions would show lack of self-control and emotional instability. These qualities are not shown in Jesus in ANY part of scripture.
– A violent outburst of of anger, and destroying people’s stuff does not sound “righteous”, it sounds like SIN!
– That does not fit the character of Jesus. Jesus NEVER sinned!
– The Bible says:
– Proverbs 29:11, Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
– James 1:20, Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
– Eph. 4:26 & Psalms 4:4 both say, “Don’t sin by letting anger control you.”
* Jesus wasn’t angry when he turned over the tables. He was passionate about putting an end to the nonsense, and bringing back the truth.
– He won’t put up with the corruption in his father’s house any longer. It’s time for a change!
– Motives are important here, and Jesus’ were pure, and his actions were not self-serving.
– Not as WE would do it. As HE would do it!
– Hebrews 7:26, (about Jesus)For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;
– 1 Peter 2:21-23, For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
– Does this describe a man who assaulted some merchants in an angry rage?
– Jesus is different than us. He sets the example for us to follow.
- Jesus is “turning the tables” on the cultural religious system.
– The Jews knew God, but they become lost in their practices, and forgotten the purpose.
– We can’t let this happen to us! We can’t allow worshipping God to become something that it’s not.
**The specific area that Jesus turned over the tables was the Gentile courts. The outer courts.
– Many gentiles, coming from every nation, are coming to praise and sacrifice to the one true God, they come to “church” and are met with a marketed and commercial experience, condoned by the priests themselves. What are they supposed to think?
– Verse 17, Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’
– Jesus is trying to protect the new believer’s faith by stopping the spiritual corruption.
– Jesus stays all day teaching them the truth, and presumably about sacrifice and worship.
*By “turning their tables”, Jesus was “turning the tables” on what the priests had allowed the church to become. The Nations need to see that this is a house of prayer for them!
– Church is more than Christian music, inspirational books, and clever t-shirts.
– Does your life show that there is something more to your faith, then just clever marketing?
– Does the “gentile” only see us “selling our faith” in the temple, and not the true inner sanctuary of worship, and a changed life?
– Turning the tables in the church starts with turning over the tables in our own hearts.
– What practices have you allowed to take up shop in your heart? (maybe w/ good intentions)
– Is you spiritual life more about “read this book” or “listen to this podcast”? Does that leave you time to pray to Jesus or read God’s word? Who are you listening to?
– 1 Cor. 2:4-5, (Paul said) And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.
– Who are you a disciple of? Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Pastor Matt… or Jesus?
– Can the world tell?
– YOUR temple was created for Jesus to dwell in you. Is there room for him?
– Do you need to “clear out the temple” of your heart?
Psalms 51:10-13, Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.
– This should be our hearts cry. Not selling our faith, but living it out.