Today's scripture focus passage: Luke 19:45-48 -
Jesus entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling, saying to them, “It is written, ‘And My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a robbers' den.”Something weird happened here on the blog when I was working on my post yesterday morning and the entire thing was over-written by the standard stuff that appears when you begin a new post. My stuff was just... *poof* ...gone. But thankfully for you guys, that means this post will probably be quite a bit shorter now than the original!!
And He was teaching daily in the temple; but the chief priests and the scribes and the leading men among the people were trying to destroy Him, and they could not find anything that they might do, for all the people were hanging on to every word He said.
We have Jesus wreaking havoc in the temple again today. He begins His ministry with a temple-cleansing and He ends it the same way.
What intrigues about this passage is if you look up the size of the Court of the Gentiles (the outermost courtyard in the temple where these merchants and money-changers would have been set up) and if you read about the number of sacrifices made at the temple for the Passover, chasing all these people out was likely no small task!! It will have taken some time. The account of this event in Mark's Gospel includes the tidbit that no one fled with any of their merchandise or money either, so thorough was Jesus in ridding His Father's House of these people. That no one ventured to band together to stop Him from ruining everyone's day speaks volumes of the authority He commanded. Several times, the Gospels mention that people marveled at Jesus' authority when He spoke. I think they "marveled" at it here, too, but in a very different way!
It's interesting that while people were expecting the Messiah to come and overthrow the Roman government, He cleanses the temple instead. His concern was not who happened to be in control politically, but who the spiritual leaders were and what they were teaching. It's popular to "live like Jesus" and want to initiate, promote, and institute all sorts of social reform, but Jesus never did that. He cleansed the temple. It's popular to criticize our governments because they aren't doing enough to please and/or protect their citizens, but Jesus wasn't concerned with that. He cleansed the temple.
I tend to think that's where the judgment will begin when He returns, too. This passage and line of thinking brings to mind the horrific vision of Ezekiel where angels cleanse first the temple, then the city, killing anyone who doesn't bear the mark of one who grieves and laments the sorry state of God's people. They are specifically instructed to start in the temple.
The beginning of all reform and revival must take place in the Church. In MY heart and in yours. In the hearts of our church leaders. That's where the cleansing needs to begin. That's where God is most concerned about it. May we humble ourselves before the Lord voluntarily and ask for His cleansing now.
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year reading: Hebrews 13; Song of Solomon 3; Lamentations 3-4
Monday's scripture focus passage: Luke 20:1-8