iCleansing the Temple
12 Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves.
This is not the usual image that we think of with Jesus. We usually see him as a kind, gentle, loving soul. Here he is powerful and forceful. If nothing less, this story shows the more complex and complete view of who exactly Jesus was. Let’s not forget that it is Jesus who is connected to the ultimate judgement of the world and sin. He is loving yes, but also a judge.
The second thing we see here is Jesus’ love for his church. It took see wrongdoing in the Temple to bring out the forceful and some could even say violent side of Jesus to come out. Seeing his Temple being reduced to store or for-profit establishment was too much for him. It was a very physical representation of what many Jews had done within their own hearts. God was put into a secondary role, if not worse.
13 And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ ”
‘My house…’ What a powerful statement Jesus made. The Temple was not owned by the priests or even the Jews. The Temple was God’s and still is God’s. This is something that we today must always keep in mind. God’s church is not ours. Yes, maybe our tithes and offerings build it and keep it running, but again, is it really your tithes and offerings?
We cannot fall into the same hole and trap that the Jews did. We must never lose sight as to the purpose of the church here on earth. It is not a social or private club. It exists because the world is full of people who are lost and confused. It should be a light and a help to anyone who is in need. It should be more focused on those outside of the church than those inside.
Look at the result of Jesus driving out the money and profit focused people in the Temple.
14 Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.
With profit and self out of the way, the Temple was now ready to give sight to the blind and strength to the lame. With a simple, yet forceful act from Jesus, the Temple had returned to be what it was designed for.
All churches can follow in this direction. Let our church truly be God’s church.
Pr. Steven Couto