“And he would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple” (Mark 11:16).
When did we become so tolerant of flesh and foolishness in the family of God? Why are we allowing anybody and everybody who shows up access to and authority over sacred things? Why do we sit back and watch God’s people drift further and further away from prayer with nothing to say about it? How can we just watch our churches turn into “dens of thieves” with no outrage?
For all the people who claim that their refusal to attend worship in a local church is because they don’t want to associate with hypocrites, they should consider the church attendance of Jesus. Jesus never tried to escape corporate worship with an excuse. Jesus was committed to attending worship in the synagogue and the temple in spite of what he knew about the people who were there to worship.
The worship experience Jesus expected and enforced at the temple was centered in prayer. “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (Mark 11:17). The temple however, according to Jesus, was “a den of thieves”. Going to temple in the days of Jesus was entering the site of some of the most blatant religious corruption and avarice imaginable. The mega-preaching celebrities that are uncovered these days to be cons and crooks and then paraded through the public by the paparazzi, pale in comparison to the religious fraud that was happening through the temple system. Jesus was dealing with the original “thieves in the temple”.
Making a difference is the work of leaders. Leadership is not for the weak. Leadership requires that you be tender and tough. You have to be loving and yet strong. You have to be comforting and yet corrective. You have to know when to hug and when to squeeze. You have to have the courage and will to do what others could never muster the courage or will to do. This is real leadership.
Jesus was some kind of leader!, to say the least. The system of this religious and institutional evil was more than Jesus cared to bear any longer. Jesus chose to confront the perverted order of the temple. The intolerance of Jesus peaked over prayer! He started driving out people who were bartering, selling and exchanging currencies in the court of the temple. He began to overturn the tables and seats of vendors. This is what you can call “making a difference”.
Jesus was insulted by how they did ministry. Jesus was beside himself seeing the lack of God’s purpose in the temple. There was nothing spiritual happening in the place where the glory of God once was manifested among a holy people. Now the temple was reduced to just being a religious racket run by religious mobsters.
Jesus would not allow any one to carry any “wares” through the temple. This was an act of intolerance. “Wares” are ‘implements’. The implements are those things a person can use to begin their business. Jesus refused to let the corruption continue to control. He stopped the hindrances of prayer right in their tracks. Enough was enough! He did not want the temple to stay under the curse of thieves. He wanted the temple blessed of God. He was consumed with the vision of God’s house as a house of prayer.