Jesus Clears the Temple Courts


Jesus calls us to a higher level of thinking and devotion in our respect for the temple. God calls his followers temples: we are the dwelling places of God. So how do you treat your own body? Is your life – your behaviour and thoughts – fitting for God’s dwelling place?

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
Mark 11:15-18

I was reading the story of Mary anointing Jesus recently. The event happened during this Holy Week right before Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion. He was at a dinner held in his honour, and Mary broke a vile of expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. Mary’s worship was entirely focused on the guest of honour – Jesus.

The temple was God’s dwelling place. It was the place where worship had occurred for centuries. The temple was created specifically for worship, and there were very clear and detailed rituals and liturgy to follow in the acts of worship there.

The temple had turned into a market, in which vendors were profiting from currency exchange and the selling of sacrificial animals. This pushed Jesus over the edge…

The house of prayer for all nations had turned into a den of robbers. So Jesus drove out the sellers and overturned the tables and benches of the swindlers. Afterward, the chief priests and teachers of the law asked him about his authority to do what he did. This was his temple.

Just as Judas objected when Mary anointed Jesus at a dinner held in his honour, the chief priests objected when Jesus cleaned house at his own temple. These were symbols which hold so much meaning after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Yet on this day, Jesus made a spectacle to teach people about the holiness of God’s temple. Today you might think of church as a similar place. I would probably say church is more like a gathering place than it is the dwelling place of God. Still, consider how you behave in and treat the church.

Individually, God calls his followers temples. We are the dwelling places of God. How do you treat your own body? Is the activity you are involved in fitting for God’s dwelling place? Or are you a house of prayer?

Jesus calls us to a higher level of thinking and devotion in our respect for the temple…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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