Jesus' Criticism of Religion
Jesus said a lot of harsh words about religion. We
often call today's Scripture reading "The Cleansing of
the Temple" which suggests that Jesus saw the dark and
dirty side of organized religion.
I love the Church. But churches often frustrate and
anger me. Some of you have been hurt by the church.
And some of you have done the hurting. Hurt people
hurt people. Let's take a little time this morning to
look at Jesus' criticism of religion because it may
help us to be people who heal rather than people who
hurt. Instead of hurting people because we've been
hurt, we can heal people because we've been healed.
The scene of the Scripture story is the Temple in
Jerusalem. This was the third temple of the Jewish
people, built by King Herod who intended to make it a
glorious expression of his power and wealth. The
Temple building occupied an area that measured about
490 yards north to south, and 325 yards east to west.
It was lavishly styled and decorated with precious
marble, gleaming white stone and gold. The gold and
white stone shone so brightly in the sun that it was
difficult to look directly at the Temple.
Herod began constructing the Temple 19 years before
Christ. The main building had been completed as Jesus
was growing up, but the entire structure wasn't
completed until A.D. 64. And, as Jesus prophesied, it
was completely destroyed in A.D. 70 by the Romans when
they ruthlessly put down a Jewish rebellion. All's
that is left is the famous Wailing Wall where today
Jews go to pray.
There were many courts that surrounded the main
building and through which people moved on their way
into the Temple. We're familiar with the words of the
psalms "to enter His courts with praise."
It was what Jesus saw going on in these outer courts
of the Temple that sparked his anger and wrath. Two
things were happening.
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