Summary: This is about undistracted worship.
Do you remember “Let’s Make A Deal” with Monty Hall? People would dress up in goofy costumes and carry signs to get his attention so he would come to them to make a deal. They would barter and trade. Unknowingly contestants would trade away a new car for 5 baby pigs. Or, they would trade away a new olive green refrigerator for an old jalopy. Then, at the end of the show, Monty Hall would offer people the opportunity to those who won good prizes the chance for the “Big Deal of the Day.” Why was it a big deal? It was big because it was something out of the ordinary. It was a chance to win a bigger prize. There were great vacations, cars and more. It was big because it was big. People wanted the opportunity to get something big.
Big deals are big, because they are out of the ordinary. We don’t make a big deal something routine. It’s not a big deal that I drove my car here today. It would have been a big deal, at least to me, if I had walked here today. Things are big when they are out of the ordinary.
Things are also a big deal when they rock our boat. The Monday after we moved here, we were out driving around getting things set up and situated. In my infinite wisdom I saw that it would be very easy to make a u-turn. Well, I ran up on the curb, no big deal, until I came off the curb and realized that the front right tire was flat. I had managed to hit a storm drain. I pulled into a parking lot. Of course it was raining heavily that day. In my automotive expertise, I deduced that the tire was flat. I saw about a ½” gash in the tire. Our van has a spare tire that hangs on the bottom of the car. I’d like to tell the guy who thought of hanging the spare on the bottom of the car a thing or two. I finally managed to get the spare tire off. I then realized that it was flat. Fortunately, I was able to call Mike Eason and he swiftly came to the rescue. That episode was a big deal, because my boat was rocked. I don’t deal well with broken cars, especially when there is a lot to do. Big deals are out of the ordinary, and they rock our boat.
Turn with me to John 2.
Read John 2:13-22.
There are two questions that I asked myself in looking at this passage. Why was Jesus so angry? And, what did Jesus accomplish? This is obviously a big deal. It was something out of the ordinary, and the boat was rocked big time.
Why was Jesus so angry?
The obvious question here is, “Why was Jesus so angry? What is it that caused him to go and do this?”
It was not the fact that people were selling things in the temple. This was a common practice in the temple. It served a useful purpose. It is estimated that annually 2.5 million people flooded the streets of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. That’s in addition to those already living in Jerusalem. Many of these people wanted to offer a sacrifice to God out of thankfulness for a safe trip. Many of the travelers could not bring along their own sacrifice due to the length of the journey. So out of necessity, people began to sell animals for sacrifice in the temple. They were also required to pay the annual temple tax. The temple tax had to be paid in local currency. Since travelers came for other jurisdictions, they had to covert their money so they could pay the tax. So out of necessity, people began to set up exchange booths so the tax could be paid in the proper currency. Jesus was not reacting to the principle that these people were there.
He was angry because a practice had arisen of taking advantage of the travelers. They had a captive audience, and they sought to make money off of it. It’s kind of like going to an amusement park. A few years ago we went to Disney World. As if they don’t charge enough to get in the gates, they proceed to charge an outrageous amount for food and souvenirs. Where else can you get a little hot dog for $4? Or, a cup of ice with a dribble of Coke for $3? How about a $25 t-shirt? There is a practice of charging as much as you possibly can because there is no other choice. Captive audiences are prisoners to the mercy of those controlling the things they need. Why else would a can of pop at a hotel $1 when it’s 40 cents at Wal-Mart?