Summary: Jesus always confronted religious actions that hindered the walk of a true believer. In our society we are called to walk in His example
THE FORWARD WALK– PART ONE
“THE FORWARD WALK OF CONFRONTATION”
MATTHEW 21:12-13; MATT. 23:4-34 - ©LARRY L. THOMPSON (2003)
There are many images that come to mind when we think of Easter.
Easter Bunnies, Easter Baskets, Easter Eggs
Easter Holidays - Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday
Easter Symbols -- Cross, Communion
There is a Challenge we face as we Approach this Easter Season:
Each time we experience the Easter season, it can lose its impact and become almost stale. We’ve heard the messages...enjoyed the music…we’ve seen the images...watched the pageants...We’ve been shocked by the horror of all that Christ endured; the torture, pain, and crucifixion. A TRAGIC RESULT: Over time, the Cross of Christ and His resurrection isn’t as "Amazing" or "Exciting" and the familiar has become the common.
For the next three weeks we are going to take THE FORWARD WALK, walking with Jesus to the Cross, looking at the last few days of His life before His Death.
To see not only WHAT Jesus experienced for us, but also HOW He approached His death, how He prepared for that first Easter Sunday and how we should also be preparing to celebrate His resurrection. Today we are going to examine THE FORWARD WALK OF CONFRONTATION.
“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.  “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.”
Up to this point in His earthly ministry, Jesus had tried to avoid OUTRIGHT CONFLICT, while at the same time; Jesus never avoided confronting RELIGIOUS BONDAGE that blocked individuals from the worship of the Living God. He was warning people openly about the poison of the Religious leaders, however, now at this point in His life, Jesus launched a serious OFFENSIVE and as we take THE FORWARD WALK to the Cross we see the line being drawn in the sand…we see THE FORWARD WALK OF CONFRONTATION.
If we are going to fully understand and recapture the spiritual significance of Easter then we must FOLLOW HIS STEPS and in the process understand by the leadership of His Spirit why this FORWARD WALK OF CONFRONTATION is so vitally important to be emulated in our lives as we prepare for Easter.
Why Did Jesus Confront The Religious Leaders? What was His Motivation? What was the spiritual catalyst that ignited this confrontation? When we see THE FORWARD WALK OF CONFRONTATION we will understand this Truth:
I. JESUS CONFRONTS ACTIONS THAT HINDER OUR SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP (Matt. 21:13)
Jesus began to drive out the merchants and their customers. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the stalls of those selling doves. Jesus said, “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers.” (21:13)
It was Passover week, the highlight of the Jewish calendar. People came from all regions and many countries to be present for the celebration. Upon arriving they were obligated to meet two requirements. First, the people were required to bring an animal sacrifice, usually a dove. The dove had to be perfect, without blemish. The animal could be brought in from anywhere, but under the guise of keeping the sacrifice pure, the dove sellers sold doves at a very inflated price. Secondly, the people had to pay a tax, a tax rendered only in local currency. Money changers conveniently set up tables and offered to exchange the foreign money for locals charging a ridiculous fee for the transaction. It’s not difficult to see what angered Jesus. Pilgrims journeyed days to see God, to witness the holy temple, to worship His Majesty.
Max Lucado writes, “But before they were taken into the presence of God, they were taken to the cleaners.”
What was promised and what was delivered were two different things. Do you want to really anger God? Just get in the way of people who want to see Him, put some obstacle in their path that hinders their goal of developing the relationship with Him. Do you want to feel His Anger and His Wrath? IF you do desire to face His wrath then exploit people in the name of God. Use people who are trying desperately to see God. Place obstacles in their path that make it next to impossible to build an intimate relationship with Christ.
I love how the translation from the “Message” interprets the words of our Savior in Matt. 23:4: Jesus said: “Instead of giving you God’s Law as food and drink by which you can banquet on God, they package it in bundles of rules. They seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these loads.”