Day 4 I Sunday April 14, 2019
If we ask people to describe Jesus in three or fewer words, there are many descriptive words that would be used. Jesus would be described as being loving, forgiving, accepting, etc., but how many would automatically jump to the word “agitated”? For those who had followed Jesus from the time His ministry began, on the Monday prior to His trial and crucifixion, they were about to see a side of Jesus that has not been recorded up to this point in Scripture. Jesus was agitated at what the people had made His house out to be.
Sacrifices were still a necessary part of the Jewish tradition. As Passover approached, the market for acceptable sacrifices would have been ripe. Many well-meaning business men would be able to provide for their families for the majority of the year, based on how successful this festival was for them. The problem with this practice was a big one, their time spent in the Temple was centered around what would most benefit them. Those who were setting up booths were not in the Temple to worship and offer repentance for their sins; they were not in the Temple as an act of worship; they were there for personal gain. In the next passage Jesus gives us an example of how He deals with His agitation when we fail to be who we were created to be.
We read of Jesus’ reaction to the fruitless fig tree and can question if it was a cruel response. Do not miss this, His reaction was not a thoughtless, angry act, but an acted-out parable. Jesus was showing His anger at religion without substance. The fig tree looked good and inviting from a distance but was fruitless on closer examination. The Temple looked impressive from a distance, but with the activities by the money changers and those selling sacrifices at an inflated margin, the Temple has been turned from a house of worship to a “den of robbers”. The man emphasis had shifted from worship to worthless.
What is worship to you? When you come to Moulton Baptist Church, do you come to offer your sacrifice of praise to the only One worthy or do you come to check off a box? Is your worship of the Lord full of humble adoration or lacking substance? Too often we see the church transforming from complete submission to the Lord to whatever profits us most. This has to absolutely break the heart of God. This Easter, set aside your preferences and come to the Lord broken and thankful for the sacrifice of the cross.