“Jesus raised His voice against corrupt merchants in the temple, and in doing so gave leaders for all time an example of the importance of speaking against injustice. A little background is helpful to understand why Jesus was provoked to action. Worshippers came to Jerusalem from all over the Roman Empire to observe the annual Passover feast. Because they were traveling long distances, they were not able to bring sacrificial animals with them.
The traders in the temple took advantage of the people by selling sacrificial animals at exorbitant prices. This prevented many people from being able to worship God with their sacrifices (as required by Jewish law).
The moneychangers took advantage of people as well. All Jewish males 20 years of age or older were required to pay an annual “temple tax.” The moneychangers demanded outrageous fees for buying the local currency that was required to pay the tax.
Jesus was a prophetic voice against injustice. He spoke up on behalf of those who had no voice. True shepherds raise their voices to protect their sheep. Those who speak up against injustice create a safe place for those who have experienced abuse and injustice.
I live in Africa. Cape Town has been my home since 2006, though my wife and I have traveled in many African countries since 1970. One of the saddest developments we have witnessed in African Christianity is the spread of the so-called “prosperity gospel.” Unscrupulous preachers and evangelists are making promises to the poor - cars, jobs, health, and healing - if they give to the “man of God.”
It is grievous to see spiritual leaders prospering from the poor, creating false hope in the hearts of the hopeless. True shepherds cannot be silent about such evil.
Speaking prophetically against injustice does not mean we are called to speak publicly against those of different political persuasions. To the contrary, those in leadership roles should not use their position to advocate one political party over another. We can and should address issues - but not persons or parties. The church and the office should be safe places for people of different political persuasions to participate without coming under personal attack for their views.
Who in your community is being oppressed by unfair business practices? Is there a way to speak up on their behalf? It could be that you are to be the voice for those who fear losing their jobs in a corporate setting. If you are silent, you may risk becoming an organizational eunuch, a person who keeps the peace but in the process loses integrity. Don’t remain silent to maintain the illusion of harmony if important principles are at stake."