The Scriptures declar, “My Temple will be called a house fo prayer for the all the nations, but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. Mark 11:17-18
When Jesus cleansed the Temple, he gave a fresh interpretation of Jeremiah’s prophecy; an interpretation that was at odds with what the Temple authorities were preaching and enacting. God’s house is a house of prayer for all the nations, claimed Jesus. But in practice only Jews were allowed into the Temple. They needed to buy their sacrificial animals because their own lambs, doves and pigeons were not suitable. They had to exchange their Roman coinage from everyday life for the special coinage used in the Temple and in all this, the middle men at the Temple grew richer, while God’s people were made the poorer to be acceptable. The peoples of other nations were not even allowed beyond the outer court, even if they wished to worship YHWH, the God of the Jews, who was the Creator of all.
When Jesus made his claim, it was a new teaching and it was liberating for those oppressed by the strict Temple code. The Temple cult were angry, because Jesus upset the status quo and they plotted to destroy him. But he was never going to go away.
We still see the same thing happening today. Whenever the institution of the church is challenged by a fresh perspective of the scriptures, such as with the role of women, creation and evolution, leadership and same gender relationships, those who love the institution often get angry and seek to destroy the new thing. But as Gamaliel said, “Wait and see. If it is of God, nothing will stop it and what will happen to us if we oppose the will of God?”
God grant us the wisdom and discernment to risk trusting fresh interpretations of your Word. Amen