Robbers // Matthew 21:13

This week we will explore what Jesus did during Holy Week. Yesterday we connected Jesus’ arrival to earth and Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Perhaps the biggest event on Holy Monday was when Jesus cleansed the temple. Matthew 2:13 punctuates this as Jesus said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers” (ESV).

There are a few nuggets to embrace in this story. The first, and perhaps my favorite, is it was premeditated. We read about how he made the whip Himself. Imagine what He was thinking and muttering to Himself as He made His whip. Secondly, it points to a righteous anger. He saw what we know as the money changers making money on the sacrifice model. People had to convert their wares to be able to purchase the requisite items for the sacrifice. He knew He was the ultimate sacrifice that would be given that year, but that’s a devotion for another day. The third nugget I want to address is connected to the second, and the one I imagine hurt His heart the most: the money changers were using their conversions to try and limit the access of who they determined to be unsavory to the Temple. I think that is what enraged Him…people controlling access to God.

Jesus’ attack on the elite’s money-grubbing/access-controlling policies was likely the breaking point. His action solidified in the elite’s minds that Jesus must be eliminated. The throngs of people who welcomed him some 24 hours earlier showed how the people embraced Him, so in true political fashion, they looked to discredit, demean, and diminish His reputation. This was the religious leader’s “Passover Surprise” in Christ’s campaign to redeem the world. What they missed, though, was this wasn’t a mere campaign for political power, it was a war waged on evil.

Jesus referred to how the elites made the church into a den of robbers. Yes, He was referring to money and how people were getting rich off a mandatory act of worship. But my pastor’s heart think the greatest act of thievery was trying to limit people’s access to God. He came for all, died for all, rose for all, and lives eternally for all. Holy Monday shows us this. May we commit today to point people to Him. How ‘bout it? Let’s go!