Cleansing the temple
Posted by Clyde Herrin
Jews were required to sacrifice animals at the temple. Sometimes they didn’t have the required animal and had to buy one. Dealers made a living by selling them the animals they needed.
Eventually these dealers began doing business inside the temple. They didn’t operate in the temple building but in courts outside of it, which were considered part of the temple. When Jesus began his public ministry he visited the temple and found this going one.
The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” (John 2:13-16)
He spent about three years teaching, performing miracles, and training his disciples. During this time those he had expelled from the temple wormed their way back inside it. In the last week before his crucifixion he had to repeat his action.
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple.
And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” (Mark 11:15-17)
The first time he said his Father’s house shouldn’t be made a house of trade. The second time he accused the dealers of making it a den of robbers. Apparently at first the dealers defiled the temple by using it for business but were honest with their customers. The second time they added to their crime by cheating their customers.
In our fight against evil we rarely win permanent victories. When Satan is defeated he just tries again. The struggle against evil is ongoing and we must continue to be alert.
The temple was destroyed in AD 70 when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem. We no longer have to worry about how people treat it. But there is another temple that each of us must guard.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)
The Holy Spirit dwells in each believer; this means that each of our bodies is a temple. The Holy Spirit deserves a holy dwelling place. It is not only sins that defile this temple; even something that is good can be a source of defilement if we put it before God. Jesus was zealous to preserve the purity of the temple; each of us must be equally zealous to preserve the purity of our body.
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