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  • Writer's pictureAlan Fong

When Jesus Turned the Tables

Today’s Verse:

And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables; ~John 2:15


“Turning the tables” is an idiom that means a correction, reversal, or change in plans has occurred. It refers to a situation where the opposite of what was expected to happen occurs. This morning, we see an incident where Jesus literally turned the tables on those who were using God’s house for self-advantage.

We see the racket.

“And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting.” Jesus was in the temple during the observance of the Passover Feast in Jerusalem. As He walked through the entrance into the various hallways, He was appalled by what He saw. What was once a matter of accommodation as a blessing to those who traveled from out of town to celebrate the feast had become numerous thriving business ventures taking advantage of fellow Jews. Instead of the attention being focused on the significance of the Passover, it had shifted to the success of the proprietors. Sellers of sheep and oxen and money-changers were making a lucrative profit off of their kinsmen. Instead of worship, there was wealth-building. Instead of helpfulness, there was hoarding. Instead of ministry, there was manipulation. Instead of revival, there was racketeering. Today, we see something similar occurring in churches with people attending church involved in multilevel marketing schemes, seeking to recruit church attendees into their pyramid. Let us be careful that our motive for the worship of God is other than just that!

We see the rejection.

“And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables.” Jesus went into action immediately. He let those making merchandise of fellow Jews know that what they were doing was intolerable. Jesus ran the animals out of the temple and overthrew the tables of the money-changers. What had become a long-established and ignored bad practice was dealt a stern blow by our Lord Jesus. Jesus cleaned house! Jesus turned the tables on the racketeers. Jesus demonstrated righteousness, holiness, and authority when He went into action. Jesus made it clear that He rejects behavior that does not glorify Him.

We see reverence.

“And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.” Jesus awakened everyone in the temple about how He wants us to behave ourselves when we are at church. God’s house is to be a house of prayer. God’s house is to be the pillar and ground of truth. God’s house is to be a place of security and safety. It is to be the place where God meets with man at man’s extremity. “My Father’s house” reminds us that church is to be a place of reverence and the glory of God. Nothing should distract from Jesus being lifted up an drawing all men unto Himself.

We see the rekindling.

“And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal house of thine hath eaten me up.” Two things were rekindled in the hearts and minds of the disciples. The first is a biblical principle. We are to be a people zealous of good works. Second, there are the best practices. “The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” We should live with a burning and consuming zeal for the care and building up of God’s house. God’s house is a spiritual house where God’s people and new believers are the living stones that make it up. Let your heart be rekindled about God’s house being the place where the fire and glory of God descend on our lives.

Jesus turned the tables on sin, Satan, and sacrilegious behavior. There on the Passover Feast, the true Passover Lamb stood among those at the feast, yet they did not realize this. Don’t get crusty on the church . Rejoice in Who our Lord is, and let the zeal of His house consume you.

Have a fervent God Morning!

Bible Reading Schedule: Acts 21-23

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