Holy Week-Monday Table Flipping

The parade is over. The crowd has dispersed. What will one day be known as Palm Sunday has come to a close. The evening is setting in, and Jesus stops by the Temple before heading back to Bethany for the evening.

Evidently Jesus did not like what he saw.

And what did Jesus see? He saw tables filled with temple approved currency. He saw cages full of pre-approved livestock for sacrifice. He saw table after table filled with must have merchandise for the Passover Pilgrim. He saw lots of space dedicated to shoppers, and to merchants which left no space for worshipers.

So what did Jesus do with what he saw? After a night to think, and pray about it he decided to make more space for worshipers. He arrived at the Temple on Monday with a whip in hand to drive animals out of the temple. He flipped tables over sending money, and money changers scattering. All the while he quoted scripture at the top of his lungs, ‘My house will be a house of prayer; but you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’

So what was it about the temple that made Jesus so mad?


Pilgrims were supposed to be coming to Jerusalem to encounter God, not be gouged. They were supposed to be coming to worship not to shop. They came to bring their offerings, make their sacrifices, sing songs and pray prayers. But what the encountered were people out to make a profit. The pilgrims were told the animals they brought were not pure enough, but they needn’t worry the merchants had just what they needed, at a premium price tag of course.

Likewise the money they carried, money from the countries they lived that was stamped with images of rulers or gods from those lands, well that couldn’t go into the temple’s coffers. Thankfully the money changers were there to help take care of that problem, for a fee of course.

Jesus would have none of it. People wanted to worship God so Jesus removed the obstacles preventing them.

While it is odd for me to picture Jesus this way I like the idea that he wanted to clear a path for people to encounter God. I have been to very few churches that actually set up tables filled with things that have to be bought before people are allowed to enter, but that doesn’t mean we don’t set up obstacles.

Do we sneer at the single mother with a squirmy child? Do we cast glances at the person who walks in with shabby clothes? Do we constantly use words that no one outside of the church understands. All of these things and more scream you do not belong here. Which makes them tables that need to be flipped in our churches.

***Please note dividing events into individual days during Holy Week is up for interpretation. I am using a time line providing by Bible Gateway.***

Holy Week- Palm Sunday

I get why Jesus rode in on a donkey. I understand that the kings of Jerusalem road in on donkeys in peace times and in on horses in times of war. So I get that Jesus is declaring both his kingship, and that he is coming in peace. I also understand that the Messiah riding on a donkey was a long standing prophecy. God had declared centuries before hand through Zechariah that this was the way the Messiah, the king of Israel would present himself.

So I get the donkey. I understand why it happened, and what Jesus was saying to the crowd. What I don’t get is the donkey’s owner.

How did the owner know to give it to Jesus? Was he an unknown and unnamed believer? Was it hard to part with his piece of property at a moments notice? Did the owner expect it the donkey?

I doubt I will ever know the answer to these questions no matter how hard I try.

But there is another question that this story causes me to ask; am I ready to give up something that I own if I felt God was asking me for it?

As I look around my house there are lots of things I own that I feel I need. Likewise there are lots of things that I really treasure. I love my games and gadgets. But what if I felt God saying, ‘Christopher these are too much of a distraction in your life, give them up.’ I love spending time working away on my blog. But what if I felt God saying, ‘Christopher the time you spend on your blog and social media is a source a jealousy and pride in your life,I need you to give them up.’ Or worse still what if for no apparent reason God ask me to give up coffee?!

Could I really part with things I own, hobbies I enjoy? What if the stakes were higher? What if I felt God calling us to move away from our friends and family? Or what if I felt God saying that the savings we have have set aside needs to be given away? Would I really be as quick to give what I have to God as this man was I know the answer needs to be yes, otherwise I have discovered an idol tucked away in my life.

This is the question I am reflecting on today. Is there anything in my life that is I am keeping off limits to God? I would encourage you to reflect on this as well.

Are you ready to give up your ‘donkey’ at a moments notice?



***Please note dividing events into individual days during Holy Week is up for interpretation. I am using a time line providing by Bible Gateway.***

Notable Biblical Women- The Canaanite Mother

Biblical Women


While I was finishing working on this sermon my daughter, Ariella lay half asleep on the couch beside me. She picked up a stomach bug and was feeling pretty under the weather. Now today a few days later she is still laying on the couch fighting the same stomach bug, but her older brother Simeon has joined her. I don’t like seeing them like this but they will feel better soon I am sure of it.

Today’s notable biblical women, is a woman known simply as the Canaanite Mother. And she also has a concern over the health of her daughter. Her daughter is said to be horribly demon possessed. I am not sure what that looks like for this mother and daughter or for how long she has been in this condition. But it is easy to imagine that it was very serious, and that it has gone on for a long time.

It is out of this desperation that this mother seeks out Jesus in hopes that he will heal her daughter. However when she approaches Jesus with her request he rather uncharacteristically refuses. The mother intensifies her request, Jesus intensifies his refusal. The conversation reaches its climax with this unusual exchange;

[Jesus] replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”

Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”

Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

There is a lot about this conversation that I don’t understand. I don’t know why Jesus was so uncharacteristically curt, and dare I say rather rude with this mother. But what I do know is that this mother demonstrates a faith that I want to have.

When she encounters a problem that she is unable to solve herself she turns to Jesus. But when met with initial silence and possible refusal she didn’t give up and she kept pressing forward. It is this kind of determined faith that I want to make sure I practice. There will be times in our lives when we face problems that we can not solve, but when we turn to prayer it seems like God is silent.

I think these moments of silence help to take our faith and refine it into great faith. Because it becomes a more tested faith. I don’t know why some prayers go unanswered for days, weeks, months or even years. But I know they do. It is within this space that we must follow the example of this notable biblical woman and demonstrate a faith that perseveres.

Canaanite Woman