Today, Monday, in the holy week timeline we see Jesus clearing the temple in Jerusalem. What exactly was going on in the temple that stirred Him to this kind of outburst?
Remember, it was Passover for these Jewish people. Families had taken their best lamb from their flock, kept it in their home for 4 days as ordered by God, and now travelled to Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the only town that they could sacrifice – that’s where the temple was. They needed to have their lamb offered for their sins, so they had to go to Jerusalem. Once they arrived at the temple, a priest would look at their lamb and say, “This one is unacceptable, it’s not good enough.” The priest would then take their lamb around back, and bring out another lamb – probably from the person in line ahead of them – and say to them that they would gladly sell this lamb to them so they would have an “acceptable” sacrifice. They were selling the lambs for an outrageous price. So, in all of this the family would end up out of money and sacrificing a lamb they didn’t even know!
Why is that significant to us? Before we find the answer, let’s look at 2 Samuel 24:18-25:
On that day Gad went to David and said to him, “Go up and build an altar to the Lord on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite.” So David went up, as the Lord had commanded through Gad. When Araunah looked and saw the king and his men coming toward him, he went out and bowed down before the king with his face to the ground. Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?” “To buy your threshing floor,” David answered, “so I can build an altar to the Lord, that the plague on the people may be stopped.” Araunah said to David, “Let my lord the king take whatever pleases him and offer it up. Here are oxen for the burnt offering, and here are threshing sledges and ox yokes for the wood. O king, Araunah gives all this to the king.” Araunah also said to him, “May the Lord your God accept you.” But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen and paid 50 shekels of silver for them. David built an alter to the Lord there and sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. Then the Lord answered prayer in behalf of the land, and the plague on Israel was stopped.
In both of these bible accounts, we see people offering sacrifices and offerings to the Lord (according to the old covenant law). Do you know the reason the people from the first Passover on were required to take the lamb into their home for 4 days? Think of a lamb… They need everything … They require much care. While caring for that lamb, they learned its ways and habits and needs. I’m sure many came to love that little lamb.
I think of the time my husband brought home a calf only hours old whose mother had died. We raised that calf on a bottle and named him Otis. In the summer, he got all the scraps from my garden. Otis was awesome… constantly climbing through our fences to get with the horses. I still think that cow thought he was a horse. Then the day came… he had to be butchered. My honey says we will never ever raise another calf like that… ‘Nuff said, haha!
I imagine it was the same with this lamb! You see, it cost them something. Had they just walked out into the herd on the way into town and grabbed a lamb for sacrifice it wouldn’t have meant anything… It would have just become ritual… A “tradition of men”. Just the same when they bought a lamb from the priests… THAT lamb didn’t mean anything to them! Had David just accepted the gift of the threshing floor from Araunah, it wouldn’t have cost him anything. It would have just become a “routine thing”.
Has our worship for our Lord become this? Why do we do it? Because it’s Sunday and 11am and that’s what we do every Sunday at 11am? What does it cost us to be God’s Called-Out ones… To get away from the things of this world and be different? Our so-called reputation or image? Friends? Family? Most importantly, what did it cost our Lord for us to have the right to be His Called-Out ones? It cost him everything… great pain… His very last breath! It cost His blood which is still sanctifying and protecting us to this very day!
This is heavy on my heart today. It must have hurt my Lord’s heart to see what He saw as He entered the temple that day. We certainly know it angered Him.
Luke 19:41-44 “As he approached Jerusalem and saw the city, he wept over it and said, “If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace – but now it is hidden from your eyes. The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side. They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.” That word “wept” in Greek is klaio and means deep grief. It is the strongest word for “weep” in the New Testament.
Worship Him in spirit and in truth my friends! This doesn’t mean just singing worship songs in church… maybe it’s just you and Him in your living room! Sometimes it just prioritizing your day to make sure He is IN it– in every bit of it! Sometimes it’s seeking His will no matter if it aligns with your agenda or not! Sometimes it’s sitting quietly and just being in His presence. Don’t sell your worship for the traditions of men. Don’t sell your worship for anything in this world. Yes it will cost you something… Maybe pride, maybe time, maybe the respect of others. It will be so worth it, I promise!