Be angry but do not sin. (Ephesians 4:26 NRSV)

Jesus was angry when he drove the moneychangers out of the temple. They had turned a place of worship into what he called a "den of robbers."

The moneychangers were originally an answer to a problem raised by Roman coinage. The coins had on them the image of Caesar. Therefore they were unacceptable for Temple ceremonies. The people were thus forced to change their Roman coins into coins that were acceptable. Those of you who have traveled abroad have probably traded currency at a little shop set up for that purpose. It can be a very profitable enterprise for the moneychanger. The moneychangers Jesus confronted, however, had brought their little shops right into the Temple itself.

Even worse, they were also selling sacrificial animals right there in the temple precincts. They were clearly running the risk that an animal might get loose and violate the sanctuary. Worse than that was the competitive among the shopkeepers vying for the business of the worshiper. The most sacred place of worship had become a commercialized circus. This made Jesus mad and he wasn't going to take it anymore. This was his Father's house.

Suddenly he was turning over tables, scattering coins across the pavement. Then he took a whip and forced the traders out of the temple and drove the sacrificial animals out into the courtyard.

When the dust cleared, people probably wondered what had hit them. Nobody, however, protested. Everybody knew deep down Jesus was right. Christ's example tells me there are times when a Christian ought to get upset about the injustices of our world.

Dear God, may I get a sense of passion for changing the injustices of my world. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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