What Really “Gets God’s Goat“?
“Day of Authority”
AUDIO: Listen to the audio version of this post HERE.
Matthew 21:12-13 (AMP)
And Jesus entered the temple [grounds] and drove out [with force] all who were buying and selling [birds and animals for sacrifice] in the temple area, and He turned over the tables of the moneychangers [who made a profit exchanging foreign money for temple coinage] and the chairs of those who were selling doves [for sacrifice]. 13 Jesus said to them, “It is written [in Scripture], ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’; but you are making it a robbers’ den.”
During the span of time Jesus spent here on earth, how many times was it recorded that Jesus became physically angry and “violent”? After all, Christ was silent when His accusers were spouting lies about Him in front of the Jewish Sanhedrin (Mark 14:55-61). Then, as recorded in verse 65 (after Jesus answered their direct question of His deity with “I am”), they blindfolded Jesus and began to punch and slap Jesus and mock Him, asking Jesus to declare who hit Him… Yet, Jesus said not a word.
There are, however, a few times where Jesus’ frustration can be heard in His words, such as in Mark 9:19 (AMP) when he asks,
“O unbelieving generation [without any faith]! How long shall I [have to do] with you? How long am I to bear with you?…”
Also as in Luke 17:1-2 (VOICE), where Jesus “threatens”:
1 Jesus (to His disciples): You can’t stop temptations to do wrong from coming. But how tragic it will be for the person who becomes the source of the temptation! 2 It would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
However, what REALLY “cooked His goose” and “got His goat” can be found in the subject Scripture passage found in Matthew 21:12-13, where God’s House was being disrespected as a place for ill-gotten gain. The temple money changers were extorting high rates of exchange for the poor people to be able to buy items needed for God’s commanded sacrifices. These people were using faith as a means for unjust profit.
How did Jesus respond to seeing this immoral practice take place in God’s House? He became furious and “violent”, in the sense of His actions during the outburst. Jesus angrily scatters the money and overturns the tables where these exchanges were taking place and (using a whip he had made) drove the merchants and animals out of the Temple area [John 2:15].
So, seeing the highly emotional (and righteous) response Jesus had with these greedy merchants in God’s House, do we dare try to escape God’s wrath by performing some of the same deceitful practices in church today? How does this happen in today’s church you ask? How about the “high-and-mighty” television-ministry preachers who promise great rewards from God to those who give generously to their personal ministry? Or those ministry leaders (not always the senior leaders) who use their position of influence for luring susceptible persons within their charge into a relationship of sexual molestation?
Most of us can honestly say that we have never been tempted to go down those routes of immorality. What about something less “strong”? How many of us have (or have known others who have) spoke negatively about the pastor or a senior leader in the church to a less mature Christian or child? Or gave contrary “advice” to what the pastor or senior leader just spoke to their charges? Immoral actions within the church go beyond the confines of handling money. As seen in the Luke 17 passage above, becoming a stumbling block to someone we should be leading is really at the heart of the issue.
Maybe it’s time for a quick “spirit check”. Have you been a “money changer” in practice? Has someone you fellowship with on a regular basis? Just remember, when Jesus “cleans house”, He does so with AUTHORITY!