Daily Devotional

Jesus Clears the Temple

by Simon Whitton

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 In the temple courts he found men 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 area, 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! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!"
17 His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me."
18 Then the Jews demanded of him, "What miraculous 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 The Jews 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.

John 2:13-21 (NIV)

Jesus demonstrated His passion for the temple of God.  Using His authority and actual physical force, He cast out those who had desecrated the temple, making it unclean.  His disciples remembered that it is written: "Zeal for your house will consume me." Which they remembered from Psalm 69: for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me.  God was insulted by this use of His temple, and the insult fell upon Jesus.

Jesus, in His zeal, even cleared the temple of the offerings!  Things that would normally belong in the temple, but He took no pleasure in them.  What the Lord really wants is people's hearts.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Psalm 51:16-17 (NIV)

The stone temple was the heart of Israel, but Ezekiel had prophesied long ago that it would be removed and God's people would become His temple.

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;
I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
And I will put my Spirit in you
and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NIV)

This was confirmed by the apostle Paul:

Do you not know that your body is a temple 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 body.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

Our body is God's temple and everything contained within it – that's all that we are - should honour God.  It wasn't just the condition of His temple that insulted the Lord, but it was what it was being used for.  If the Lord had zeal for a heart of stone, how much zeal will He have for a heart of flesh?  Let's not dishonour His temple in any way.  Instead let's turn the Lord's temple into a house of prayer.

Thank God for His passion for His house.  Confess anything you think may insult God.  Invite Jesus to clear your temple of all that displeases Him, and know that He has the authority to do this.

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