13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”
20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
We paused yesterday and noted that there are some other scriptures that we need to look at. Here is one of them:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” I Corinthians 6:19-20Wow! Every time that I read that, I am struck afresh and anew with the realization -- our bodies are temples of God! And that brings an added responsibility . . .we need to make certain that we honor God with our bodies.
Does Jesus need to cleanse our temples? Do we need to invite Him in with prayer, so that He can come in and cast out our sinfulness, and make our bodies holy again? Does He need to take the cords of life and make them into a whip of circumstances and situations that will get our attention, so that He can push sin out of our daily lives?
Here is another scripture that talks about the temple:
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” I Corinthians 3:16-17This is powerful stuff, too. We see here that not only are our individual bodies temples to God, but we (together) as the people of Christ are also a temple. So, when we gather together as a group of Christians, a sacred thing can happen -- He can be in our midst. So let's not treat our gatherings as trivial or inconsequential -- He doesn't!
Each of us has sins that separate us from the close relationship that God wants to enjoy with us. We all have things in our lives that keep us from that special path that God has for us. Here's the problem: we are used to them. We don't even realize they are there anymore, and we don't even see them as sin anymore -- they're just a part of our world.
We are like the ancient temple, and we have tables of sin that have wandered into our lives and we may not even realize that they shouldn't be there. Oh, and once the sin takes hold, it grows and grows. Probably when the tables in the temple began, they started out small, and few in number. But then they grew and grew, and soon there were sheep, cattle, birds, and moneychangers in a part of the temple that was supposed to be where people could worship!
I just can't picture trying to worship while being distracted by all those animals, can you? Well, that is the way sin in our lives can be. We allow it to grow and take more of the place where God should be. It makes our relationship with Him weaker and weaker. It keeps us from that one relationship that is the most important.
And we are unable to get rid of these sins and distractions by ourselves; we fail miserably when we try. Here's the good news: we don't need to do it by ourselves. Our Jesus, the fierce Jesus that we don't think about as often as the serene one, will take up His cords and cast out those things that need to be removed. Let's allow, let's invite Jesus into our temples, and let Him work in our lives. He can free us from those things that will keep us from Him.
He will cleanse us as He did the temple.
Thank you, Lord!