“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.”-Matthew 21:12
As Jesus walked into the temple courts I can only imagine Him moving slowly with His disciples watching the activities occurring within the temple walls.
I can see Him seeing the manipulation of prices, the manipulation of people, and the flawed system taking up the very place His Father was present in.
He possibly sat for a few minutes wondering “Where did this all go wrong? Why have the people allowed this system to become what it has become?” Then, it hits Him. The sin of the world had overtaken the sanctity of the temple.
He flips tables. He disrupts the system. He interrupts the norm in order to create a righteous chaos.
What are the people to do? The only thing they could do was stop and stare as pandemonium stirred.
Then, as the confusion covered the temple, Christ ends His movement with profound words “’My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it a ‘den of robbers’.” He brought the system to its knees.
Then, to top it off, He began to heal those in need of healing and rest in the very place pain and unrest was found just moments earlier.
That’s God! That’s how God sets the example to stand up for unjust circumstances. This is how God decided to rise to the occasion and stand up for the marginalized in the community. This is where He decided to step up and say “Enough is enough!”
Right now, the Church is in a place to do the same thing. In a society where a system has been established to hold people back and limit the abilities of some while giving limitless ability to others.
There is a flawed establishment in place that creates tension in the world which hinders the potential for people groups, not merely races, but social status as well.
When does the Church step in? Where do they make their stand? How do they make change?
First, we need to fix our systems. The Church has to be the very place where all people feel welcomed. Social status shouldn’t matter. Last names shouldn’t matter. Clothing styles shouldn’t be a concern. People should know they could walk in from wherever they come from and worship freely the very God who created them!
Second, we need to walk into hard places and create a righteous stir. Our ministry is outside the church walls, not just inside. There are people crying for help, but we sit comfortably hearing a message of hope and peace, but failing to live it in a world that needs it. When the Church steps into the lives of the broken and outcasts, the world will notice and the commotion will commence. Christ set the standard in saying “So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Matt. 20:16).The Church needs to walk in the right place in order to reveal the Kingdom of God.
Finally, the third thing we need to do; is acknowledge our mistakes. So often the Church uses their pastors or church leaders as scapegoats for things that go wrong. This has to change. The Church is made up of people, not a person. When something goes wrong or has been askew, the people (included, but not limited to, the pastors and leaders) should rise up and respond.
Let the Church rise to the occasion and respond to those in need by shifting the system. Creating a stir and flipping some tables when needed, but always responding with grace and compassion.
Loving those who have made the system what it is and serving those the system has damaged.
Perhaps, we may even have to acknowledge the fact that some of the damaged we are serving are victims of our own systems.
Let the healing begin!