What Made Jesus Angry? – Matthew 21:1-22

Reflection from my reading in Matthew 21:1-22 in the One Year Bible New Testament.

Like A $5 Soda

Have you ever been in an amusement park and really craved a soda only to see that the price was $5? The owners know they can jack up the price because you came all that way to the park and you have no other option.

Most likely, this is what the money changers and pigeon sellers were doing in the “court of the Gentiles.” They were  taking advantage of the non-Jewish people who had traveled far to just get to the temple. What probably started as a convenient idea turned into a huge distraction and opportunity for corruption.

Probably, the money changers would give the traveler a terrible exchange rate for their foreign money and then the bird salesmen charged an arm and a leg for the sacrificial pigeons. If that wasn’t bad enough, the pigeons were the sacrifice that the poor were permitted to bring if they could not afford a lamb! (See Leviticus 1:14) In other words, they were preying on the poor!

The very place designed to welcome the outsider was taking advantage of them.

Jesus Threw Down… (Tables)

“And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.” Matthew 21:12

Jesus got mad because these people were making it hard for people to worship and pray. Jesus then explained the reason for his anger.

He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:13

Prayer was the purpose of this part of the temple, not profit. Jesus was angry because instead of being a place of connection with God, this area had become a place of corruption.

From this story we learn…

Righteous anger is not a sin.

Jesus loved the outsiders enough to risk upsetting the religious of the day.

God’s temple was meant for connection with Him.

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