On Our Terms
What are we to make of Jesus cleansing the temple? It seems a bit out of character does it not? Jesus, after all, didn’t sweat the small stuff too much.
Like when his followers pinched some grain heads on the Sabboth, or when they failed to ceremonially wash before meals. “Man was not made for the Sabboth, but the Sabboth was made for man,” Jesus says.
But now at the temple (John 2), Jesus shows grave concern for laxity around sacred things. Pulling together cords and forming a whip he sent animals running and overturned tables, splashing coins onto the stone pavement.
This is even more confusing when we consider Jesus’ comments that the temple would soon be destroyed, “Not one stone left upon another,” and he seemed little upset by this impending destruction of the Temple buildings. So why all the mayhem?
I guess it was a warning against the entire way people were approaching God. People want God on their terms. People want a convenient amount of God and no more. People want a God presented the way they deem correct. So, I will go to the Temple and pay my offering, as long as I can conveniently change my currency and purchase my sacrifice in the Temple courts.
Christ says God is not Burger King, you don’t get to have him “your way.” Then they bristled, and still wanted to have it their way, demanding Jesus perform a sign to confirm his authority in these actions. That was the true problem. People want God, but they want to have him their way.
We are always making a run on the throne of God, always demanding he bend to our will, our culture, our view. We are so proud. This was what got Jesus angry, our demand that God serve us at our convenience. Instead, we are called to serve him.