And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine.
This is the pattern of Jesus’ teaching. He points out what God’s Word says and then compares that to what the people were actually doing. They had the law and the commandments. They knew what God wanted of them and what was expected of them. They had the guidelines, but they were not abiding by them. They were not living that out in their lives. Instead of preserving the holiness and sanctity of God’s house, they had allowed it to become defiled by greed and a pursuit of wealth.
Jesus doesn’t let things slide. The temple wasn’t a place for buying and selling, and those things didn’t belong in His Father’s house, so He removes them. So it is with us. The Holy Spirit comes along and brings up God’s Word and invites us to compare that with what we are doing. He doesn’t tolerate the wrong in us, but He wants it to be removed. So we can’t get lax about things. We can’t let worldly ideas or our own ideas infiltrate and contaminate our lives. We are to do what God says to do, and we are to do it His way.
When we are confronted with that, there are usually two reactions that we have. Some, like the chief priests, reacted strongly against Jesus for pointing out those things. That is often our attitude when we don’t want to stop doing something even if it is wrong, sinful, or if God tells us not to do it. We close our ears to the truth and turn away because we really don’t want to change. We want to have our own way instead of submitting to the authority of God and His Word.
Others who heard Jesus’ teaching were amazed by His doctrine. They would continue to listen to Him and seek to learn more so they could follow His ways. And if we will be willing students, Jesus will never stop teaching us. Sometimes the lessons are hard to learn. Sometimes we have to face the harsh reality of ourselves and what we are doing. But may we humbly surrender to God and be willing to admit when we are wrong and seek to make things right. May we not resist the teaching of Jesus, but embrace it for the help it will be to us in our lives.