Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cleansing the Temple: Jesus Is Publicly Announced

God had appointed this day for Messiah to be publicly announced, and we read about it in the prophet Malachi 3:1-4 Malachi began by saying,
“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me.”
That was John the Baptist, the voice crying in the desert, prepare the way of the Lord.

Malachi continued,
“And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap...and as a purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.”
The whole temple market was run by the priests and Levites

There was certainly plenty of cord around, with all the animals. So Jesus methodically wove a whip and,
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."
We understand from the Greek that the money He poured out was all of the profit the money changers had taken. Jesus was careful not to damage any property, hurt any animals or cause any harm. But His wrath cleansed the temple.

Malachi finished his prophecy with,
“Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.”
Nobody tried to stop Jesus, not the venders, not the money changers, not the worshipers and not the religious leaders.

In fact most people hated the extortion and racketeering, so they were probably relieved and thankful that someone had finally done something about it. The disciples just watched, probably stunned. But they learned some important lesson about holy wrath. It is a cleansing power that intends to rid creation of all sin.

• It is right to be angry with what angers God.
• Jesus didn’t just simmer. At the right time He did something about what was wrong.
• In this case, He had a plan and He executed His plan with care, with authority and with thoroughness.
• He spoke, making it clear what He expected and explaining what was wrong.
• And when He was done, the incident was over.
Jesus has power to cleanse
Jesus will not tolerate sin, and when it is time, Jesus will act. The outward appearance of holiness, when it is actually self-serving, is sin and brings on God’s wrath. In what ways might you and I act holy for the wrong reasons?

What marketplace in your own life has become a place where you trade spiritual values for material values? The religious leaders had turned the worship of God into a money-making business. That is a warning to us today, maybe first of all in the way we do church, to be sure that we do not trade spiritual values in worship and service to God, to material values of gain.

The other warning goes to you and me personally. Every person who is believer is literally a temple of God. The Lord has chosen to live in every believer.
How clean do you and I keep our physical bodies? What habits have you and I fallen into that service our own wants – over-eating, over-drinking, the misuse of drugs.

And what about the emotional and spiritual aspects of our lives? How pure do you and I keep our minds, hearts and spirits with the ways we entertain ourselves, the work we do, the way we talk and what we think about?

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