CLEANING GOD’S HOUSE
12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
14 The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them. 15 The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”
But the leaders were indignant. 16 They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’”
17 Then he returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.
If Sunday was the “triumphal entry,” Monday was the “shocking confrontation.” The buying and selling and changing of currency at the temple were the lifeblood of commerce in Jerusalem, and Jesus literally shut it down. All Jerusalem must have paused to look at the young rabbi with eyes wide and eyebrows raised.
The merchants were exploiting the poorest pilgrims who had traveled many miles and had no choice but to buy sacrificial animals at the temple complex at exorbitant rates. When Jesus arrived, everything came to a crashing halt. Coins crashed onto the stone walkways, birds flew free from their cages, guards shouted in fruitless attempts to intervene. At the center of all the commotion was the most loving man who ever lived—chest heaving, eyes focused, heart filled with passion and justice.
Sometimes love compels you to confront something that shouldn’t be.
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our very bodies are temples:
19 Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20 for God bought you with a high price. So, you must honor God with your body.
We all have things inside of us we need to confront. Before you move on, spend a little time right now talking to God about something in your own life that shouldn’t be there. Use this moment—before you continue with your day—to bring that thing to Him. Remember that just like Jesus cleansed the Jewish temple at the beginning of the week, His death and resurrection at the end of the week guaranteed our cleansing (1 John 1:9). Once you’ve confessed your sin, thank Him for His forgiveness.
Following Jesus means listening to Him and acting on what we hear. At the end of each of our daily devotions this week we will recommend one simple and practical way we can obey Jesus in response to His voice through the Scripture. In this way, we can tangibly follow Jesus on the road to the cross together.
On Monday, Jesus cleansed the temple to restore it to a place of worship. Let’s do the same. At some point today you may have to take out the garbage. Before you do, take a scrap piece of paper, and write down the sin you confessed a moment ago. This is just between you and God, so you can use words or a symbol, if you prefer. When the garbage goes out, make sure your sin goes with it. In this simple and tangible act, you are following Jesus as He “cleanses the temple” of your heart and prepares you to worship Him this week.
The material in this guide has been adapted from Fellowship Bible Church’s Holy Week 2020 resource: Following Jesus Through Holy Week.
All scripture quotes are from the New Living Translation.