Good Monday morning my friends. This is Passion Week so I am going to interrupt my regular blogging schedule and concentrate on the events of this week in Jesus' life. In the community in which I was raised and the communities I served as pastor (in the early years), churches would unite each evening of this week and the various pastors would take a turn preaching from the events of this week in Jesus' life. It is significant to look at the things Jesus said and did as it would be the things of priority before his departure.
To start with we will consider Luke:19:45-46;
Then he entered the temple area and began driving out those who were selling. "It is written," he said to them, " 'My house will be a house of prayer'; but you have made it 'a den of robbers.'"
Nothing is going to happen unless it is first bathed in prayer. So it should be no surprise that this was a priority for Jesus, to re-establish the priority of prayer in the Temple. He did that by removing all the trappings of man, the distractions, the greed, the things that keep us anchored in our sins. Jesus was not soft spoken in this matter, he was not polite and he was not patient. These people were a hindrance to the true seekers of God, to those who so desperately wanted to bring their petitions to God. John describes it as Jesus taking a whip to them to get them out quickly. I do not imagine that these "merchants" were slow in getting out. I see it along the same reason Jesus spent time casting out demons, to give the person the opportunity to hear from God.
This action of clearing out the Temple was really a symbolic act of what Jesus was going to provide for us, the temples of the Holy Spirit. All of us experienced that when we first accepted Jesus as our Saviour and the Holy Spirit was given to reside in us; a cleansing took place. The things that were a hindrance were either driven out or took a much lower place in our lives. Communion with the Father through the Spirit in us became the priority for us because there was very little to distract us, in the beginning. Jesus had entered in and driven out the demons, the 'money changers", the "sellers" of things. Much of what had anchored us to this world was sent packing as we realized our destination and the priorities of God in our lives. But something can happen over time if we do not keep our focus and the priority of keeping our temple clear, these things creep back in and start "selling" again.
This week is a good moment to reflect on this because we cannot have a foot in both realities and think Jesus would be pleased. What have we let back in that is crowding out our communion with the Father? What have we given priority to that is preventing us from flying with the eagles? Often we do not want to consider these questions because we know they lead to tough decisions. It is a matter of making a choice and allowing Jesus to come in and clear things out again so that communion with the Father takes the priority again. This is a good season for cleansing and renewal. In many ways this is like our New Year as we take the time to reflect on our lives for the past year and seek renewal in our relationship with Jesus for the coming year.
Renewal is something we can seek every day of our lives, we don't need a special event. However, most of us do not take the time to reflect on our spiritual condition, or, if we do, we don't know what to do about it. I encourage you then to use this week and the events of this weekend to seek a cleansing and renewal with Jesus. Take extra time to meditate on the Scriptures, to spend time in prayer, to worship and, if you have the opportunity, attend the special gatherings of the churches in your community. Give Jesus the priority this week and see what he will do in you, the temple of the Holy Spirit. He may just spend the week instructing you as he did in that symbolic temple 2000 years ago:
Every day he was teaching at the temple ... all the people hung on his words. (Luke 19:47-48)