Jesus, the Good Shepherd with a lamb draped over His shoulders, the gentle servant who tells us to turn the other cheek—He threw a temper tantrum!
He didn’t pitch fits because sinners lived in sin or because Romans acted like Romans. No, His anger was aroused when those who claimed to be God’s people kept other people away from God.
Hear Jesus’ tirade against the Pharisees in Matthew 23. What did they do to provoke Him? They took pride in their external righteousness, while inside they were full of greed and self-indulgence. They heaped extra laws on the people, but neglected the meaning of God’s Law—justice, mercy, and faithfulness.
Watch Jesus throw the moneychangers out of the temple in Matthew 21. Not only did they build a financial barrier between worshippers and the Lord, but their loud presence in the Court of the Gentiles hindered God-fearing Gentiles from praying.
Feel Jesus’ love for those who long to come to Him. Do we in the church erect barriers to those who seek Him? Do we set demands beyond what the Bible requires? Do we stick to our cozy group of friends and neglect visitors? Do we, even subconsciously, wrinkle our noses at those who don’t look or dress or smell like we do?
Lord, help me tear down human-made walls between You and those You love, root out hypocrisy in my soul, and fill me with Your love.