I have seen several people recently when speaking about the injustices happening justify violence and point to Jesus overturning the tables in the temple as a comparison.
I would like to point out a few things. First and foremost, Jesus is God. He can read souls. He actually knows the intention inside of a persons heart. We do not, unless we are like Padre Pio and God has given us this gift. We can think we know someone’s intentions and judge them based on what we think, however we could be wrong and when we die we will be judged based on how we judged. This is a dangerous area for many of us these days. To think we have some secret knowledge about the interior of someone else. Knowledge they perhaps themselves don’t know. I watched an excellent video that explained this concept. But don’t be fooled you will be judged for what you are assuming about other people and how you act based on that.
Second, and this is probably the more important part, people often think the grievous crime Jesus was upset about was greed and not caring for the poor. Though greed and not caring for the poor are sins and Jesus wouldn’t have approved of it, we do not see him going off on every greedy person. He, in fact, called Matthew to be an Apostle and ate with Zacchaeus, who for all intents and purposes extorted the poor. So what was different here? They were doing this in the house of prayer; the place for worship. Jesus’ wrath is about the violation of the first commandment. Jesus’ wrath is about the idolatry of self, of power, instead of worship of God. Keeping people from prayer and worship. This is what invokes Jesus’ wrath. The Temple belongs to Him. This is where we see his anger.
So this begs the question, we find ourselves now, if you are paying attention, in a place where many think God’s wrath has come upon us for all of our sin. So what should we be doing to quell this? You guessed it, honoring the first commandment.
I am the Lord your God… you shall have no other God’s before me. Exodus 20:1,3
We have many idols, including our causes. Your cause could be Godly but if you put it above God alone it becomes an idol. And more importantly if your cause makes you sin then it isn’t Godly.
My heart is grieved to see our church making worship optional. I am seeing many families who were regular church goers not partake in any kind of Sunday worship since the COVID outbreak, because they have been excused from it. Excused from what God commanded. Excused from the one thing that could actually stop this mess we are in. And yet, many leaders have encouraged protesting, while keeping their churches closed. It’s exactly backwards. Protesting isn’t wrong, but choosing that above worship, that is wrong. And the fact of the matter is, if we really loved and worshipped God we would not need to protest because loving and worshipping God compels us to change, to purge sin, and to love one another. But alas, we will just delve deeper and deeper into chaos and lawlessness. We should be prostrate on the ground in worship in front of the Eucharist.
But let us not lose hope. God is love. God is mercy. So even in this chaos, He is looking to purify and save your soul. That is a promise. He didn’t just drive out the money changers from the temple that day, he would have also driven out the animals they were selling. This is because they would no longer be the sacrifice. He was the sacrifice. Even in His anger, he loves.
He is loving us right here and right now. He knows our fear. He knows our own anger. He is trying to teach us to look through His eyes and to love in the middle of it all. Be the light. Continue to worship the Lord.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Hebrews 12:1