Pastor’s Blog – March 29th

Dear Family of Christ,                                                                       
 
It was great yesterday to see a few more faces in Church as we celebrated Palm Sunday. This week has reminded me of last year when everything was shut and services only virtual. It is great to see so many people who have had the vaccine and things returning a little closer to normal. We always need to make sure normal is what our Lord desires. Sometimes it is not as we read about Jesus going into the temple on Monday of Holy Week.   Hear this in Mark Chapter 11.
  
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it `a den of robbers.” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
(Mark 11:15-18)
 
This passage has Jesus getting angry and flipping over tables. Some people have the idea that getting angry is sinful. That is not true. In fact all throughout the Old Testament we have God getting angry with the sin and the evil of the world. In this passage Jesus is angry with what the Temple had become with all of the money changers and markets in the outer court of the Temple. Temple taxes would be paid with money that was not bearing the image of Caesar. Roman money was the common currency of the day, and currency traders converted Roman money into a local currency. I am not sure of what the transaction fee was here, but bankers and money changers often charge an exorbitant fee. Jesus found the whole practice lost sight of what the Temple was to be for the world.  
 
Jesus says the Temple is to be a House of Prayer for all nations. He is quoting Isaiah 56:7 in saying this. The place where they had set up the market was often called the court of the Gentiles. What a Gentile might find here is not a lot of prayer, but a lot of business activity. 
 
The topic of last week’s reading in the Being Challenge was the Church. Jesus is passionate about the Church. The Church is meant to be the place where we connect with our Lord in prayer, in the Word, and in the Sacraments. The joy we have is there are no transaction fees with Jesus. He has paid the price for us all.
 
In Christ’s Service, Pastor Dave