While going through this journey with cancer, I have been more hungry for time in the Word. It’s a huge craving that just doesn’t get satisfied. It’s good, though, no matter the time I have. At other times, I’ll be driving down the road and get a reminder of a passage I haven’t perused in a while.
Such was the case last week. I was in the car and was reminded of the story of Jesus driving out the money changers and their animals/birds in the Temple in Jerusalem. This account is recorded in all of the Gospels (Matthew 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; and John 2:13-21).
In my chemo pre-meds, I get steroids. They are a help, but they also awaken me a bit early the next morning (4:00 a.m.) So, I’ve had some quality time in the Word and prayer already today and have loved every minute of it.
After reading all accounts this morning, I will focus on what I read and saw, how it spoke to me, and then I will ask you a question.
What I saw in this passage:
I am a visual person/learner. As I read this I pictured Jesus (God incarnate) as a man going to a place that was built for the purpose of His people meeting with God, praying to Him, and worshiping Him through sacrifices and offerings as a set apart nation of Israel. Jesus knows the Temple had a purpose.
Jesus sees through the hearts of the money changers who are selling their animals and birds to those who have a need. They are selling them right there in the Temple. The place of worship He sees has become a place of doing business. Jesus grows angry with a righteous kind of anger. Jesus is not pleased with the system in place that has converted this house of prayer into a den of thieves. His anger swells to the point he pours out the money from their jars, overturns the tables, and drives out the animals and the sellers from the courts of the Temple. He made a corded whip while there and used it to get his point across. He cleansed the Temple.
His disciples remembered a verse from Psalm 60 that said, “Zeal for Your house has eaten me up.” (ESV)
How it spoke to me:
As believers in Jesus Christ, we can see the tie-in to the Temple. Jesus even refers to His body in this account as the Temple that will be raised in three days after it’s destroyed. The leaders don’t get it then, but some will later.
We read in 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (NASB, emphasis mine.)
Every time I get my chemo, I have at least 4 cords coming into one line that pumps the chemo into my port in my chest and then into my body. When I read this, I had not really paid attention to the whip that Jesus made out of cords, but when I reread it this morning, I got chills picturing Jesus using these cords to get into my body and drive out the cancer “merchants” who had no business in His temple (my body).
Remember how I cannot even feel the tumor anymore? It was a large and solid mass. It was aggressive in its growth. It was a presence that wanted to rob me of my very life. I sense Jesus saying to it, “It is not so! This will not happen! Get out! You have no business here!” He is cleansing my temple.
He has a continuing purpose for me. I can walk in a God-confidence that helps me look up to Him and not down at a gone lump that will not rob me.
I type with tears of joy and not because I awoke so early to the hoot owl in the woods outside my window. I awoke early because I had an appointment with God this morning and He has taught me, and shown me His goodness and faithfulness AGAIN, and I am overcome by His love for me!
I wish you were here.
Now, for you, questions:
Are you a committed believer in Christ?
Are you aware of your temple belonging to Him? Only those with His indwelling Spirit are those who are His.
Do you know the temple creator as the healer?
What in your life is a “merchant” set to rob you of your life in Christ? Is it disbelief, embracing lots of religious beliefs but not the eternal life-giving One?
Do you know He loves you with an everlasting love and that He died for you, your sins, and your diseases (Psalm 103:3; Isaiah 53:4-5).
How does this passage in John minister to you in your life today?