15 So they came to Jerusalem. Then Jesus went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 16 And He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple. 17 Then He taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
People today call it the “cleansing” of the temple. That sounds fairly inoffensive, but what actually happened was that Jesus threw people out–people who had probably been doing business there for years. These weren’t a bunch of fly-by-night operators, but probably merchants who held a very respectable place in the community. Imagine their shock! I’m sure they felt that they had a great deal more right to be there than some young upstart from Nazareth.
And yet they did leave. The power that shone through that Man must have been surprisingly strong. He was able to interrupt the normal activity of the day and expel people who thought they belonged there. He bossed them around! I’m sure those merchants he drove from the premises were angry, and I’m sure they resisted Him. It couldn’t have been easy to stand up to them, and it surely was appalling to the people watching. How dare Jesus barge in and rebuke these important men? It was unheard of!
And yet He cleansed. And they left. They obeyed Him because He had all power and all authority over them, whether they liked it or not.
…do you not know that your body is the temple
of the Holy Spirit who is in you?
1 Corinthians 6:19
Do you know that? You have a temple. You are a temple. Has Jesus come to visit your temple yet? And if so, has He cleansed it? Did He come in and chase out all those old habits and thoughts that were once the boss of the place? Even perhaps the ones that seemed so well-established and really quite ‘respectable?’ Did He sweep them completely out of your temple?
Or have you managed to save a few things back in an out-of-the-way storeroom somewhere? Did you retrieve a few favorite items from the pile of debris and tuck them away as a memento? Or perhaps for ‘insurance’ …just in case?
Sometimes I take a look into my heart and realize that there is STUFF in there. Stuff that doesn’t belong, stuff that I thought Jesus had taken away. But somehow it has managed to creep back into that little storage area and occasionally, it might even spill out. And no matter how I try to keep the door locked and how I try to pretend that the room doesn’t even exist, the stuff is still in there. I’m not really using it (not really) and I’m trying to forget it, but like a basement full of junk, it’s still there. Remember that Jesus called the moneychangers a ‘den of thieves?’ The stuff I hang on to is stealing from me, from Him. It takes up space that could be used for better things, and it robs my energy when I occasionally remember it.
This body I live in is God’s temple, and I want to give it all to Him. I don’t want hidden storerooms full of worthless things or rubbish in the corners. I want him to roam freely and use this space to His own glory.
Come in, Lord. Cleanse my temple. Get rid of the riffraff so that we can do Your business.
Cleanse it, Lord. Throw out the envy, the comparisons, the pride, the ugliness. Sweep it clean and then You can fill it. Occupy all my nooks and corners and hidden places, Lord.
Dwell in me richly, abundantly.
Completely fill me.
Amen. Let it be so.