This is Holy Week, a special celebration that commemorates the final week of Jesus’ life. Sunday was “Palm Sunday,” when Jesus rode into the city of Jerusalem on a donkey and was praised as the Savior of the world and Son of God.
Yesterday is called “Angry Monday.” The next day “Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of money changers and the benches of those selling doves” (Matthew 21:12).
To make it more convenient for the people to pay their temple tax and to obtain the appropriate sacrificial animals for temple worship, merchants seized the opportunity to provide services on the spot. But the commercialism took center stage, and pushed out non-Jewish visitors from accessing the temple courtyards.
That made Jesus angry. “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers,” Jesus scolded them (v. 13).
Then something surprising takes place. You’d think that nobody would want to come close to Jesus in this frame of mind (like staying away from dad when he’s upset about his favorite basketball team losing). Instead, “the blind and lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them … and the children [shouted] in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David’” (vv. 14,15).
Approaching an angry deity is usually the last thing a person does before being struck by lighting. But not here. Not with Jesus. Because Jesus isn’t out-of-control-lose-his-temper angry at anything and everything just so he can vent. He’s not angry with the blind and lame and children.
Jesus is angry at the religious do-gooders who come to the temple having it all together, who flash their shiny credit cards and dress to the nines and don’t need anything from God at all. They’ve turned their worship, and their lives, into showcasing their own spiritual self-reliance. And their “better-than-thou” attitude didn’t allow non-Jews a chance to worship.
For that, Jesus is angry, because his entire being and destiny is to help hopeless sinners who can’t help themselves.
Jesus wants you to come to him. Don’t be afraid. He’s not angry at you for not having it all together. As a matter of fact, he hopes you are a person who is able to admit you don’t have it all together – you are blind to the meaning of your life right now, and you limp around with this sinful weakness, and you or so naïve when it comes to making better decisions.
“My house will be called a house of prayer.” Those words of Jesus mean he loves it when you come to him and ask for help, confess your sins, plead for his mercy, believe in him, and let him be your Savior. He will heal you with his grace, and in that grace you will be holy indeed.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven … Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled” (Matthew 5:3,6).
Have a holy week! Come to Jesus and be blessed!
PRAYER: Jesus, if I have filled myself up with spiritual self-reliance, I confess my sin to you. If I have invested in commercialism more than the value of my soul, I confess my sin to you. And I come to you now for help and healing. Make this week holy for me as I walk with you, watch you, and put my whole life in your hands. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Matthew 21:33-46. Jesus tells a parable about … himself. What is the message he is teaching? How does it apply to you?