Lenten Devotional // Day 11

Monday, March 14
RECLAIMING THE TEMPLE by Dave Merrill

John 2:13-22
It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple those who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves, as well as those involved in exchanging currency sitting there. He made a whip from ropes and chased them all out of the temple, including the cattle and the sheep. He scattered the coins and overturned the tables of those who exchanged currency. He said to the dove sellers, “Get these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.” His disciples remembered that it is written, Passion for your house consumes me.
Then the Jewish leaders asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? What miraculous sign will you show us?”
Jesus answered, “Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.”
The Jewish leaders replied, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and you will raise it up in three days?” But the temple Jesus was talking about was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered what he had said, and they believed the scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.

Reflection
He took the time to…make a whip.  He made a whip and chased people out of the room, ya’ll.  
Doesn’t that seem a little intense for Jesus, the son of God?  Was he having a bad day?  Couldn’t he have practiced some of the peace, patience, kindness stuff?  He must’ve really cared about whatever it was that he was protecting. So, let’s play this out and get to the bottom of what (or who) Jesus was so passionate about.

He walks up on people selling animals in the temple.  It begs the questions, why were they selling them?  What makes the selling of animals so atrocious?

You see, according to Jewish Law, cattle, sheep, doves or pigeons were required to be offered for certain religious sacrifices.  They were making a profit off the very animals that were understood to be used as offering to God.  In essence, they were requiring payment for payment.  “You pay me, and you can have this goat that will make things right between you and God.”  How does Jesus respond to this?

“Get these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a place of business.”
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere.  It was all about his Father’s house.  
If his Father’s house wasn’t a place of business, then what was it?  Well that’s the exact question that Jesus came to address.  We see that in his response to the Jewish leaders question of his authority.  

“Destroy this temple and in three days I’ll raise it up.”  Personally, I like to read that, “Let’s see you destroy THIS!”

In that moment, Jesus makes it clear that the physical temple, the building, is now just a symbol of something bigger, stronger and more meaningful.  What exactly?  

Him.  Jesus is the new temple, and…SPOILER ALERT… he DOES raise it up.  

But these “salesmen” don’t know this yet.  In their minds, they had to have been thinking, “this guys really loves this building.”

What they couldn’t possibly have understood is that Jesus wasn’t passionate about the temple.  He was, is, passionate about the accessibility of the temple to people.  He is passionate about people knowing that this new temple is so vastly different from a business transaction.  This new temple doesn’t require an offering that can be paid for with the debtors money.  This new temple IS the payment, and everyone is welcome free of charge.

Jesus didn’t get in the whip making business to protect a law or a building.  Jesus drives out the very notion that access into the temple could possibly cost something.  The cost has been covered with his death, burial and resurrection.  From that point forward, the need for sacrificial offerings was null and void.

Access to God was now available, always and anywhere.  And THAT’S what Jesus would fight and die for.  Your free access to him.

QuestionS for Contemplation

  1. Do you have any symbolic temples in your life?  Places or offerings that you are making in order to make God happy?
  2. What areas of your life might Jesus cast out because you're trying to buy access to Him?

Prayer

Jesus.  On this day, may your deep passion for me be clearly understood and received.  Through your Spirit, reveal to me my own worth, precisely as I am, through your eyes.  Forgive the offerings I bring to you for the purpose of being in good company with you.  Transform my heart and help me to bring offerings of thanksgiving and joy in place of worthiness and access.  Thank you for your unending grace, mercy and love.  Amen.

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