Jesus is serious about worship. Few stories emphasize that as much as the cleansing of the Temple. Here is the account of this moment in history as told by the Gentile-doctor-gospel-writer named Luke:
Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices.He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” After that, he taught daily in the Temple, but the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the other leaders of the people began planning how to kill him. But they could think of nothing, because all the people hung on every word he said. Luke 19:45-48
Matthew 21:12-13 and Mark 11:15-17 also give us this account. John adds a little more detail to it:
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” Then his disciples remembered this prophecy from the Scriptures: “Passion for God’s house will consume me.” John 2:13-17
Why was Jesus so mad? Because His people, who were made to worship the one true King, were perverting one of the cores of Temple worship: true, unsullied sacrifice. They were making a profit off of the people – the people who were traveling miles and miles to present themselves at the Lord’s House. They were “robbers” and “thieves”, according to Jesus. This could not stand. Jesus drove them out in righteous anger, quite forcefully, I might add.
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself… 1 Corinthians 6:19
How does this story hit you today? Hopefully, you are reminded of the fact that you are now the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus wants your undivided attention. He wants your true devotion. This brings to mind a tragic moment in the life of the people of Israel that gives strong application to our lives today:
And though they worshiped the Lord, they continued to follow their own gods according to the religious customs of the nations from which they came. 2 Kings 17:33
• Does 2 Kings 17:33 describe you? Are you trying to worship God but also following your own gods?
• Does your “Temple” need to be cleansed?
• What do you need to repent of? What sin do you need to throw off of you? (Hebrews 12:1-2)
• Do you need to lovingly intervene in the life of a friend who may need to get back on track? (Proverbs 27:6, 28:23)
• What did the Lord teach you today through this familiar passage of scripture?
By: Todd Thomas — Worship & College Pastor