Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here, and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.” His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him, “What sign can you show us for doing this?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews said, “This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his Body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. (John 2:13-22)
In today’s scripture, we see Jesus declare that the temple is meant to be his Father’s house, a house of prayer not a den of thieves and sin. He overturned tables and formed a cord to drive out whatever was unfit, whatever was not holy and consecrated to God and his service.
There is great symbolism in this scripture.
We begin of course understanding that Jesus was referring to himself when he said that the temple would be raised back up within three days.
Jesus Christ himself is the foundation of the Church, the cornerstone. And the Church is the spiritual house built of living stones on this foundation. These living stones are those who build their life on Christ, those who are trying to become saints. The Church is made not of marble, wood, bricks and glass, but of men, women, boys and girls, living stones erected on Christ the cornerstone.
Jesus’ ultimate plan is to make of us a temple through uniting us totally with him. The temple is God’s dwelling place. Jesus, God-with-us, wants to be with us not just on the outside but on the inside. The Word made flesh wants to dwell not just “among” us but “within” us.
God’s plan is for us to become a true tabernacle of God.
Yet, through two millennia, history has given rise to people who seek to destroy the concept of Jesus, God-with-us.
Instead of accepting the liberating vision of people filled with God, they seek to destroy that tabernacle.
That intent to destroy lives with us today. Even among those who profess to be followers of His way.
We see the destruction continue when:
We ignore the climatic changes around us and deny that we have polluted this earth and caused climate change;
We allow racism to exist around us and shrug our shoulders and say that slavery has been part of the history of the United States since its founding;
We allow the passion of our politics to divide us, to separate us one from another and claim that our cause is THE right cause;
We attend our churches but desecrate them by our presence because our hearts are full of anger, spite and unforgiveness;
We profess love of Christ but our thoughts, words and action betray an inner life where we allow criticism of others, diminishment of others, gestures and words of incivility mark who we really are;
We erect temples not to Christ but to political figures or a partisan and exclusionary philosophy which says some are better than others.
We grow such an inflated sense of self that we begin to glorify our wisdom, our philosophy, our way of life as the right and only way.
The list goes on and on and seems to grow each day. Each day we seek to crumble the stones of the temple that Jesus came to build. If you see yourself anywhere in this list of destruction then pause and review how you can return to the temple of God.
Everything changes once we begin to view ourselves as a Church, and view others either as a Church or someone destined to be a Church. When we grasp this, and when we have basic love for God, the whole way we view ourselves and others changes. We begin to have reverence for God, for others, and for ourselves.
And that’s the way all of us, together, grow into the temple of God.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, you open wide the door of your Father’s house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship in spirit and truth. Help me to recognize that I and my brother and sisters around us are called to be your holy temple. Grant me the wisdom and strength to live in that one and only truth.”
Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with God, he fills us with his Holy Spirit and makes us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). God’s word enlightens our minds and purifies our hearts that we may offer God fitting worship and enjoy his presence both now and forever. Do you live a life that recognizes that?