Holy Week: Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Many of us have our own vision of how Jesus looked and how he acted. Maybe you're like me, and thought he really did have rosy cheeks and blonde hair. Anytime I saw a picture or painting of Jesus he was calm, peaceful, and happy. However, when we read Matthew 21:12-13, we're given another side of him. It's not a bad or negative side of Jesus, it's actually good, and gives us a small glipse of God's wrath.
Jesus hadn't been in Jerusalem very long, and upon entering to the temple, he was angered by what he saw. The main entrance to the temple looked like Wall Street, with no respect or honor to God's presence. Animals were being sold off left and right, and pagan money was being tossed around like candy. Jesus saw these wicked things happening and literally flipped tables upside down and ran the merchants out.
That's not the way many christians see Jesus. That's not the way many people view God. Is he loving? Absolutely. Is his love unconditional? Yes. Is he gracious? Yes! All these things are true, however, God has a wrath reserved for sin that we can't even imagine. If that makes you a little uncomfortable, it should. God's wrath is real, and without Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, we would all rightfully recieve it and face eternal seperation from God.
Easter is approaching quickly, and it is important for us to remember that Jesus didn't simply give a "get out of jail free card" from Hell, but he endured and satisfied every ounce of God's holy wrath for us. More than the physical pain Jesus felt that day, he took on the full weight of sin, and for a moment in history, Jesus was seperated from God the Father. Jesus paid the debt that we cannot pay, and satified the wrath of God. When we come to know God, we're not saved from the Devil, we're not saved his demons. We're saved from God's just and holy wrath. What was once reserved for us, was placed on Jesus. We're no longer dead in sin, but alive in our Savior, Jesus.