March 4, 2018                                                                                                                        

John 2:13-22 … “In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables.” vs. 14

According to the gospel of John, Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning of his ministry and not at the end. We don’t know why John chose to put it first…he undoubtedly had his reasons…but his description matches that in the other gospels. Jesus had gone up to worship but found that the temple had become a marketplace and he became angry—so angry that he staged a riot. It’s doubtful that the incident made any difference in temple practices, but it did solidify the antipathy between Jesus and the chief priests. In their eyes the folks doing business were simply providing a necessary service for those coming to sacrifice, and besides, it was a great revenue stream for the temple. It’s easy for religious leaders to think that way. Market forces continue to be a factor in the life of congregations. As many a council member has said, “The church is a business. If revenues fall off we’ll have to shut the doors.” Many times that kind of thinking begins to affect the proclamation of the gospel. Pastors are afraid to offend and carefully craft sermons that will keep the big givers happy. For many, that business side of being church is unsavory. There is a point to it, but it can easily get out of hand. Blessed are those congregations that are driven by the gospel and not by the market!

Thought for the Day: How’s business at my congregation?