Matthew 21:12-13 - Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves. "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.' "
Corruption. Any time money is involved in religion, there is potential for corruption. This passage warns against buying and selling for greedy gain. I think a lot of people unknowingly are buying and selling in church with ulterior motives. It’s really the only time in the Bible we see Jesus go off, so it’s probably worth browsing this passage to make sure we’re not in violation of what Jesus is angry about.
This passage has a plethora of Touchpoints that are striking…
#1 – Jesus drives out leadership that is motivated by making a buck on the backs of goodhearted people. God won’t put up with weasels.
#2 – Jesus was so furious that the leadership was gouging those buying sacrifices with a little additional tax in order to make profit. God cares about financial honesty.
#3 – When Jesus quotes that His house will be one of prayer, he’s saying that my house will be one that honestly practices my presence. No trickery.
#4 – Jesus reserves some really strong words for spiritual leaders who rob people financially through deception.
#5 – The moral of the story is simple…leaders who lead the people astray financially should get overturned and driven out of spiritual leadership by Jesus.
It’s sobering to think that Jesus actually made a whip and went off on people who mishandled God’s money. The buying and selling were normal in that setting, people needed to purchase sacrifices after a long journey to Jerusalem. But when the religious leaders would add cost to line their own pockets, Jesus took them out.
“God, I’m mindful that money can get in peoples heads. I pray that you would protect our people, especially our leaders, from the love of money and the allure of filthy lucre. We want to be above board, just in our dealings, full of honor and honesty with our finances. Keep us from becoming salesman of spiritual things…we are your servants. We need your aggressive presence to intersect our lives if we forget this story, Lord. Wake your church to your high view of financial integrity. This is my prayer.”