Matthew 21:12-13 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money- changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘ My house shall be called a house of prayer, ’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
After his triumphal entry, Jesus entered the temple grounds. The Temple Mount is 53 acres of elevated platform. On top were colonades, open plaza space and in the center, the Temple itself. This place that was designed by God for the purpose of making God available had become the center of religious commerce.
As Jesus approached the cross, He was not obsessing on what was going to happen to Him, but He was focused on the fact that men had taken something that was supposed to make God accessible (worship and prayer) and had created more walls to keep people out.
Today, we, the church, do the same thing. We distort the message of the gospel with a market-driven, powerless substitute. We pretty ourselves up so no one sees our failures and foibles, all while making it harder for others to find grace. We design ministry to make insiders feel like their doing something, while keeping outsiders at a distance.
Here are some ways we do this in our 21st Century church culture.
1. We have made men and women into Christian superstars instead of humbled servants.
2. We hide our own weaknesses and failures making others think a life of grace is unneeded or unattainable.
3. We measure success by filing people in and out of slick programs without showing them transformed lives.
Lest we think we can just blame church culture, we have to be honest and say, that these trends flow from the condition of our own hearts. We like superstars because true servants convict us. We hide from God and others because we don’t want to see what’s deep within us. We don’t want transformed lives because that means God is really in control and we are not.
The cross is the ultimate act of inclusion. It makes grace available to all. We must strive for servanthood – that’s the Jesus path. We must strive for authenticity – honesty makes grace real. We must strive for transformation – a life lived in the presence of God. This Holy Week, take time to ask Jesus to show you what He wants to clean in you? How can you live your life to make the gospel more accessible to others?