“Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there; and he said, ‘It is written, “My house shall be a house of prayer”; but you have made it a den of robbers.’”
— Luke [19:46]
Jesus was near the end of his earthly ministry when he and his disciples entered the great temple of Jerusalem. He spotted money changers exchanging coins for visitors who needed them to make their Passover offerings. Similarly, he saw merchants selling doves for many times the going price. These merchants and money changers had descended on the great temple to take advantage of the many visitors there during this period of Passover. In turn, they handed over to Caiaphas and others who controlled the temple part of the excessive profits.
“In one quick act, Jesus changed the paradigm and the temple rulers were exposed.”
With the help of his disciples, Jesus overturned the tables and drove the merchants out, thus setting up the deciding event when the religious elite began planning his demise. Things had changed. Jesus saw that over time the great temple of Jerusalem had disintegrated into nothing more than a get rich quick scheme. In one quick act, Jesus changed the paradigm and the temple rulers were exposed. The masses had known they were being duped, but they had no power. Their faith required them to buy shekels for their donations and livestock for their sacrifices.
In our own lives we see this as well, a situation we know is bad, but that we have to live with. We feel it is beyond our control. Sometimes we feel that we have to go along to get along.
“Our act of giving in can have a terrible price. It is at this point we need to cleanse our temples.”
Sometimes we receive a benefit that we know we shouldn’t and continue. Over time things get worse and our compromises lead us farther down the trail, until there is a crisis. Our act of giving in can have a terrible price. It is at this point we need to cleanse our temples. We need to change the paradigm.
“When we embrace Jesus’ ways and look back, as time passes, we will see a different point of view.”
What are these habits we have fallen into, that we know compromise us? Is it gossiping about a neighbor? Is it overeating? Is it looking the other way when we shouldn’t? Is it our own enabling behaviors? It could be many things. They start slowly. Over time, we let them creep in, and soon we are part of the problem. It is at this point that we need a dramatic change. A turning over of the tables. A clear and decisive move. We have to give up the benefit we receive and potentially lose friends in order to get our temple in order, to get on a different path, one we know we should be on. When we embrace Jesus and look back, as time passes, we will see a different point of view. One that is clearer and not colored with compromises.
Our temples will have been restored.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman
What behaviors or actions do we have that need cleansing?
How do we radically shift away?
How far do we have to go?