Passion Week | April 10

THE BRIDGE TO CLEANSING

 

“On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there…he said, ‘Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?”  Mark 11:15, 17 (NIV)

 

Temple thieves…just the thought of being named among them brings images of judgment!  Just yesterday, Jesus arrived in Jerusalem and visited the temple.  It was calmer then; but, today is a different story!  Hundreds of thousands of Jews are beginning to converge upon the holy city to celebrate the Passover.  The outer court, the “Court of the Gentiles”, is filled with merchants selling animals to desperate travelers.  Many have had their own animals inspected and rejected as unworthy offerings by the powerful and wealthy “mumcheh”.  The announcement rings out: “Unpure!”  After paying the mumcheh for his inspection, the weary travelers pay to exchange their coins into shekels for temple tribute and go to the market area to pay outrageous prices for “fit” animal sacrifices.

 

Jesus arrives on the scene and calls it like it is:  “You have made My house a den of robbers.”  They robbed the “God-seekers” by taking advantage of their needs.  They robbed the Gentiles by profit-seeking instead of witnessing to them in the court.  They robbed God by worshipping money instead of Him.  Jesus did what any homeowner has the right to do:  He “cleans house!”  He drives out the moneychangers and cleanses His temple.

 

Jesus challenged their motives.  They challenged His authority.

Jesus spoke
2 controversial phrases:
 
 1) This is “My house.”

 2) This house is “for all nations.”

Jesus then proceeded to heal the blind and the lame, creating once again an atmosphere of worship. (Matthew 21)

This was not the first time a spiritual adjustment had to be made in the temple.

There were three kings whom God called to faith in tough times:  Joash, Hezekiah and Josiah.

Joash

repaired the temple in 2 Kings 12.  He rebuilt the place of worship!  The place of worship must remain strong in our lives if we are to remain spiritually strong.  It is more than just attending a worship service:  it is learning to live a life of worship!  Joash’s experience reminds us of this vital truth:  in order to keep worship at the center of our lives, we have to be willing to pay the price.
 

Hezekiah

in 2 Kings 18 removed the “High Places,” the places of false worship. 
 
Our worship deepens when we deal with the destructive and distracting influences

in our lives.  Look at how Hezekiah dealt with such places.  He removed, smashed,

cut down and broke them into pieces! There was no compromise…they were

completely dealt with.  If evil influences are not completely removed, they

will continue to be destructive.

 

Josiah
rediscovered God’s Word in 2 Kings 22-23. 
Even if you have not picked
 
up your Bible lately, you probably know where it is located. 
The people of Israel had literally lost the Lord’s Law.  When Josiah rediscovered and read it, every-

thing changed.  You may need to make a rediscovery of your own:  rediscover

the meaning of God’s word for your daily life.  Start reading it again as if your

very life depends upon it…because it does!

 

Does your life need a spiritual adjustment?
  • Do you ever question God’s authority, His right to do with your life as

           He sees fit?

  • Do you steal from God in tithes and offerings, in service and

           commitment?

  • Do you stand in need of healing and freedom?
  • Temple cleansing is still important.  Since we have become temples of the Holy

Spirit, God has the right to:

 

1) Bring cleansing   2) Exercise His authority    3) Restore order

4) Reinstate the priority of worship

 

Only one Person in attendance that day had the right to proclaim “pure or unpure.”

It was Jesus.
  Surrender and hear His voice…”You are pure!!!”

 

Family Discussion Question:  Whose example do you most need right now:

Joash, Hezekiah, or Josiah?

 

Children’s Activity:  Offer your children a choice between a glass of clear water

or a glass of dirty water.  Explain how Jesus makes us pure so our lives can be

offered as “clean” to a holy God.