12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'” Matthew 21:12-13
I’m positive this action did not endear Jesus to the leaders or the merchants. I’m certain it shocked all who were following Him because up to this time, he healed, prayed, performed a few miracles, and was gentle towards women, the infirm, and children.
It seemed to be out of place, but it wasn’t. It was totally in His character to be upset about spiritual things and those who abused them.
People came from all around for the Passover, and they were to bring their sacrifices with them. Since many came from long distances, it was very convenient that someone at the temple would have such sacrifices for sale. The temple priests probably made some money by renting out space to the merchants.
They were all missing the point of the sacrifice. It should cost them something. If that something was walking the sacrificial animals along for 30 miles, then that was part of the sacrifice.
There is truth in that for us as well.
Sacrifices should not be easy or free. They should cost us something.
Things you sacrifice will be very different than what I would sacrifice because we’re at different parts of our spiritual journey and socio-economic stages. Quite frankly, it may not always be about monetary values of something either. Sacrificing time, resources, education, training, and gifts, they’re all a part of our spiritual makeup.
Sacrifices, of course, do not add or subtract from the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. They are gifts we bring to others.
And in the end, isn’t that what Christian ministry is all about?