In today’s devotional from John Koedyker at Words of Hope from the Reformed Church of America, we consider a time when Jesus was flipping tables and shouting and calling people names. And we realize that we follow a Savior who is passionate, both in loving kindness, but also about justice and righteousness.
Read Mark 11:15-19. Is it not written, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations”? But you have made it a den of robbers. (verse 17)
Charles Wesley’s hymn Gentle Jesus, Meek and Mild speaks of our Lord’s tenderness, kindness, and love. For the most part, that is the way the gospels portray Jesus. But not these verses! Here we see an angry Jesus, overturning tables and driving out those who were buying and selling in the temple.
But it was not anger just for anger’s sake. It was a righteous anger — an anger expressing the very sentiments of God Himself. Jesus, as the Son of God, did not even feel at home in his Father’s house with all the commerce and clutter. He called it a den of thieves. People were being swindled and exploited by having to pay an exorbitant temple tax, which had to be paid in shekels and thus involved an exchange fee to change their money.
In addition, the venue for all of this buying and selling was called the Court of the Gentiles. It was meant to be a place of preparation and prayer, but with all the commotion, it was impossible for anyone to worship. Jesus had a reason to be angry. My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations, Jesus says. May the worship of God always be at the forefront of what we do in God’s house.
As you pray, ask God to help you enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise (Psalm. 100:4). Ask God to re-prioritize your life for Him. My prayer is you will be as passionate about righteousness as you are about other things in your life.
Rev. John Koedyker is pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church, Grand Haven, MI, and a regular contributor to Words of Hope for the Reformed Church in America.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: We do not remember days, we remember moments. — Cesare Pavese