Jesus entered the temple area and proceeded to drive out those who were selling things, saying to them, “It is written, My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” And every day he was teaching in the temple area. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people, meanwhile, were seeking to put him to death, but they could find no way to accomplish their purpose because all the people were hanging on his words. (Luke 19: 45-48)
This is the only incident in the Gospels where we see Jesus using physical force.
Jesus went to Jerusalem, knowing he would meet certain death on the cross, but victory as well for our sake. His act of judgment in the temple is meant to be a prophetic sign and warning to the people that God takes our worship very seriously
Jesus honors the Father’s house of prayer by cleansing it of unholy practices.
Here, we see Jesus’ startling and swift action in cleansing the temple of those who were using it to exploit the worshipers of God. The money changers took advantage of the poor and forced them to pay many times more than was right – in the house of God no less! Their robbery of the poor was not only dishonoring to God but unjust toward their neighbor.
In our own day, Jesus wishes to purify our image of the Father, to “drive out” of the temple of our hearts images of God that are misconstrued. There are thieves in our interior which attempt to rob the faith, hope, and love that give it light, life, and a future. Invoking the light of the Holy Spirit, we can ask him: Are there fears or doubts which tug at my heart, keeping me from “letting go and letting God”? Are there insecurities which make me believe I must earn my worth before God and others, that my own perfection makes me worthy of him? Is there a second-guessing in my heart which makes me think I must make myself loveable, disbelieving that it is God himself who makes me loveable?
By doing that, our purification begins. A purification which binds us closer to God and helps us to live in the image and likeness of God. He wants to help us to become a true temple of his presence. He wants us to become a house of prayer, where we hang on his words, where we adore him, thank him, ask forgiveness for our sins and the sins of the world, intercede for all those in need, and confidently ask him for whatever we think we need.
But there is still another temple. The physical structure that we attend when we go to Church. There too we are offered a chance to be purified.
When we come before the Lord, we must come in truth. Our aim is not to be polite, but to be honest. Therefore, we must come as the people we are. Jesus calls us to follow his example, to stand before the Lord in truth, because God wants us as the people we are. There are very few who can claim a life that has been totally purified. Each of us is a work in progress. Our tears, our sorrows, our anger, our insecurities are part of us and need to be resolved. What better place to bring them than to the Lord who knows our pain and can help us?
Stand before the Lord in truth, because it is only when we express our sorrow and anxieties to the Lord in prayer that we will be open to hear what he might say in response. Then perhaps we may discover the next step that God is asking us to take.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you open wide the door of your house and you bid us to enter confidently that we may worship you in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to you with gratitude and joy for your great mercy. May I always revere your word and give you acceptable praise and worship.”
Daily NoteIf we approach God’s word with a humble attentive heart and with a willingness to be taught by the Lord, then we are in a good place to allow God’s word to change and transform us in the likeness of Christ. The Lord wants to teach us his ways so that we may grow in holiness. The Lord both instructs and disciplines us in love to lead us from the error of our sinful ways to his truth and justice. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). The Lord calls us to be a holy people who worship him with reverence and gratitude for his great mercy and kindness towards us. Do you allow God’s word to transform you in his way of love and