Picking up where we left off in this series… If you recall, we’ve seen Jesus receiving praise and worship on Palm Sunday, and we’ve seen Him weeping over a city that failed to receive the peace that He offered. Here’s the next snapshot from Pastor Cymbala’s message:
Going back to the Scriptures, within a couple of hours, the weeping Jesus is replaced by a much different Jesus. Let us look at the very next Bible passage: "Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ”’My house will be a house of prayer;" but you have made it "a den of robbers.””’ (Luke 19:45,46) When Jesus came into Jerusalem he went into the Temple and surveyed what was going on. Instead of serving the people and leading them to serve God, do you know what he found the religious establishment doing? They were making money off of the people. You see, when foreigners came to the Temple to bring their offerings, they brought foreign coins that had to be exchanged for the official Temple currency. So money exchanges were set up in the Temple court. However, the money changers were making 10-20% on the exchange! In addition, the animals required for the sacrifices were being sold at inflated prices. Thus the place had become a money-centered place of profiteering.
Jesus didn’t weep at that time. When Jesus saw his father’s house turned into a den of con artists, he got angry. This was a fulfillment of the prophecy: "Zeal for your house consumes me." (Psalm 69:9) We read that Jesus took some cords, made a whip, and drove out of the Temple those who were wheeling and dealing. He upturned the tables, so that the coins went flying everywhere. Can you imagine? He was only 33 years old, and yet he had such moral authority that no one dared to stop him! In essence, he said, "My Father’s house is supposed to be a place of prayer where people come to meet God, but you have made it a place to make a buck! Get out of here!"
There are times when we as Christians have to get indignant, too! It should get us angry when false prophets and crooked evangelists twist and pervert the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, making false promises just to make money off of God’s people. While we shouldn’t get angry with anyone personally, we must get upset that these religious hustlers end up creating a distorted view of Christianity for those who don’t know the Lord. Remember: Jesus was perfect love and he still threw the money changers out of the Temple! Love doesn’t put up with everything. Sometimes love says, "Get out of here! You’re messing up God’s house!" Do you know how indignant the Apostle Paul once got? He said, "Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:9) That bold language from Scripture seems so foreign to our shallow and lukewarm religious world.
But that’s another true picture of Jesus. He’s not walking on the water now; nor is he saying, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Yet Jesus did and said all of those things! But the question is: do you want a narrow little picture, or do you want a full portrait? You see, who Jesus is depends on the circumstances. You know his full personality only by seeing him in different situations. That’s the only way we can ever truly know anyone.
To obtain an audio tape of the full message that is excerpted in this issue or to get an archival listing of Pastor Cymbala’s sermon tapes, please call The Brooklyn Tabernacle at 718-290-2238. (This is not an advertisement.)