What gets in the way of us worshiping God? In the gospel reading for this week, it was commerce. It was selling animals and exchanging of money that was taking place in the temple. Quite the opportunists I would think, what better place to capitalize on a crowd of people that at the temple, the center of the community. I wonder what it was that made the people think this was okay and that coming to the temple for a business transaction wouldn’t be destructive to those who were seeking the holy. The perception of what was holy in that space looked to be serving oneself and lining your pockets with money. It was a brazen show that money and power were going to take the seat held by God to whom the temple was dedicated. Jesus was having none of it. He came into the temple and chased out those who were selling, poured out the coins of the moneychangers, and turned over tables for good measure. I have to imagine that this was about as angry as we read about Jesus being, imagine the insult he felt when money and power were so visibly valued over the God who loves us. John’s gospel places this story at the beginning of Jesus ministry which is different from the synoptic gospels and is one of the reasons that John’s gospel is my favorite. Right up front, we get a picture of Jesus who is not messing around. It’s also a place to realize and remember that Jesus has come to replace the temple, that the presence of God is now embodied in Jesus who is with us and for us, and despite any barriers that might be set before us, like those in the temple that day, Jesus invites us all to be his followers and to walk with him in his ministry.
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