Summary: Jesus will not tolerate desecration of the temple of our worship nor the temple of our bodies.
March 3, 2018
Reading: John 2:13-22
From the Calm Before to the Storm in the Temple
Jesus arrived in Jerusalem to celebrate the sacred festival of Passover. He just departed Caana of Galilee, where He celebrated a peaceful wedding. At that wedding, Jesus began His public ministry by the miraculous turning stale water into the finest of wine for the guests to enjoy. Jesus continued in that ministry all the way to the cross, changing, purging, renewing, healing infirmities; casting out demons and evil and bringing fresh new joyous life at every opportunity – JUST AS HE DOES TODAY!
As soon as Christ enters the temple, He is confronted with a hustle bustle business being carried on within. The scene can probably be compared to a flea market atmosphere, where bargaining and commerce was rampant.
How offensive this must have been to God the Son! The temple was to be a place of worship not business. Conniving merchants began by taking advantage of the opportunity to sell animals, for the purpose, of sacrifice at the altar. Money changers set up business to facilitate the exchange of currency.
Can’t you just picture in your mind what that would look like.
It so offended Jesus, that He created a whip made of rope and began driving the animals and vendors from the temple. He toppled the money changing tables and “cleansed” the temple.
In the following reading from the Book of Malachi, are we seeing a prophecy? If so, this sure looks like a fulfillment to me.
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer to the LORD An offering in righteousness.” Malachi 3:2-3
Jesus has a singleness of purpose – the sanctity of the temple. His words make quite an impact when He says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”. The response was typical of not getting the picture. Jesus was referring to the temple of His body. John says that His disciples finally understood and believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. (vv21-22)
How about our worship and our places of worship? How about the temple of our bodies? How long do you think Christ will tolerate a place of worship to be used as a gathering place on Sundays for coffee and refreshments; for entertainment and a music festival peppered here and there with a prayer or two and a short message, presented more from an obligatory response? Now, that is not meant to be critical of so many of the mega churches that have well rounded services. I am speaking to those where the matter of filling the pews is more their purpose than filling the hearts and spirits of those who come to worship. It goes back to entertainment and fleeting emotion as opposed to substantive services that provide for learning, retaining and are life changing.
How about you and me? How long will Christ tolerate our abuse of the temple of our bodies? What do we bring into our bodies? Alcohol, Drugs, Gluttonous Foods, Nicotine, Diseases brought on by sinful sexual activity, and on and on and on!
Do you see a common denominator? Everything I mentioned is entertainment, emotion, fleeting pleasure and destructive. Is it or is it not? The Christian is supposed to be sacred, holy, SET APART. That means not only outwardly, it also means inwardly.
As we move on into this new year and now approaching Easter, let us meditate on just why Jesus cleansed the temple and just why He sacrificed His life on the cross. He did so to give us the very means to cleanse our lives and our bodies – AND - to keep them sacred and apart.
Let us pray