Day 07: John 2:13-22
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.”
But the Jewish leaders demanded, “What are you doing? If God gave you authority to do this, show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”
“All right,” Jesus replied. “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
“What!” they exclaimed. “It has taken forty-six years to build this Temple, and you can rebuild it in three days?” But when Jesus said “this temple,” he meant his own body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered he had said this, and they believed both the Scriptures and what Jesus had said.
John 2:13-22 (NIV)
In early church tradition the story of the cleansing of the temple has found itself as part of the Lenten season. This story has become a symbol of the believer’s purification -- cleansing our bodily temples of vulgar practices and self worship -- as the Church moves toward Easter. In our anticipation of Easter we, the believing people, become a new ‘temple.’
However, nothing new happens without change, and change always intrudes on comfort. The Jewish leaders were keenly aware of the discomfort as Jesus challenged the commerce and practices of the religious order. The national center, or house, of worship -- a place of gathering with God -- had became a burden upon the people. Jesus enters in as one who reveals the heart of the Father. Upon entering, he finds that those who are to be the light of the Father have defaulted to trusting in their own methods, lists, and requirements for a proper relationship with the Father. The true light shatters the false light in an instant.
How easy it is for us to read about the great signs of Jesus and marvel at the unbelief, even pure resistance, of the leaders of Israel.
How easy it is for us to forget that we, too, need Jesus to cleanse us of our selfishness and disobedience.
The actualization of Jesus as Lord in our life requires us to live with open doors to our ‘temple.’ The Lord must have access to the depths of our being and we must bid him, “Come and expose the places of false worship. Show me the pathways to life I have chosen to follow rather than the way of the Father. Jesus, take apart the foundations I have laid for my life and transform me into a new creation.”
As we move toward celebrating the new life of Christ, let’s approach Easter with open hands -- surrendering everything to Him.
Phil Starr, Pastor of Student Ministry