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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Tan: The cleansing of the Temple


"TAKE these things away, stop making my Father's house a place of business" John 2:16b

Oftentimes, what is highlighted in this record of John is the anger of Jesus. Added to this reckless move is the tendency to defend our anger, comparing it to the anger of our Lord. Here, I want to caution you, dear reader, before we commit serious blasphemy. You must never think that your anger and the anger of God is the same. It is not and can never be the same!

Instead of rationalizing, let us be in the mode of honest self-examination, willingly learning the lesson that Jesus wants to teach. Here, in this passage, the Lord exposed the tolerated corruption inside the temple. Some translations of the bible call them money-changers, others, like the translation of Eugene Peterson in The Message, he terms money-changers as loan sharks.

In the place of worship, animal sacrifices are sold at an unbelievable price so much so that the poor cannot pay up. The sound of the musical instruments now competes with the sound of the tinkling of the coins. The Lord expressed his anger by driving them all away!

The cleansing of the temple leaves a stern warning... "Do not make my Father's house a house of business.” Aptly said, Eugene Peterson translates it like this... do not make a house a shopping mall!

There is no problem when a church worships in a mall... the big problem is when the mall is in the church! The Lord saw oppression being done in the name of religion. The Lord exposed obsession to materialism among God's servant and among God's people. I am sure there are a lot of these still existing today... like prayers are offered for a fee or weddings, funerals and other religious functions are now openly requiring corresponding envelopes for the minister or Priest.

I am not against it when gifts are given generously and sincerely for your religious leaders. What is immoral is when religious leaders manipulate people to give against their will, with matching verses from the bible wickedly used to harass people.

I cannot speak for other religions; I can only speak about mine. In the hometown of my wife, I am really sad and angry to hear reports that our own Southern Baptist ministers require a fee of P2,000 (which by now has increased) before they perform a wedding! This makes me vomit while the majority of ministers in my group call it normal!

It is so embarrassing to be a minister nowadays. While this is bad news, I am glad that there still are God-fearing ministers left. My co-worker, Pastor Fritz Melody, (just finishing his first year assignment as Pastor serving as Chaplain in one of the hospitals here in our city) I think, is a gracious exemption to the rule.

After prayer for a sick person in the hospital, the family quickly wanted to give Pastor Fritz "a Love gift", the young Pastor graciously refused it saying... “You don't pay for prayers.” Stories like these give me hope to continue as a minister of God. Pastor Fritz, it is my honor to serve with you and may your tribe increase!

I will not be political but with all honesty, let me say... if God wants to cleanse a community, He will not start with the city hall or the Palace. God starts His cleansing in His House! Whatever religious persuasion you have, I hope you will spend a few moments in prayer for our churches today. I do not wish for a perfect church or do I claim to be a perfect minister... I simply and fervently pray to be a clean servant of God, following the Lordship of Christ!

Lord, have mercy on us! Cleanse us or close us is still my prayer. Amen.


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