March 25, 2023
15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.
19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.
Cleaning God’s House
I tried to imagine what it would be like if Jesus came to our church. I wondered about what he might like or dislike about our behavior at church and if he would be upset about some things too. Would he think of us as a “house of prayer for all nations?”
While asking the Lord what this text means for us today, I thought of a message we heard in a sermon a few weeks ago: Where is Jesus now? He lives in our hearts. When Jesus died on the cross and paid the price for our sins, the curtain to the Holy Place in the temple was torn apart. This opened a way for us to have direct access to the Father through Christ. Therefore, we also sing in an Easter song:
“… you ask me how I know he lives – he lives within my heart.”
─ “He Lives” by Alfred H. Ackley
So, since my heart is the place where God lives – I can compare it with the temple, right? How does the Lord find the condition of my heart? Is my heart a house of prayer? Or are there things in my heart Jesus needs to clean out? And how do I react when the Lord shows me that there are things to clean out? Do I ignore him or do I even get upset? If the Lord speaks to me through a brother or sister in church, am I open to that? Do I allow him to change me, to take things away that I might like?
Take some moments to examine your own heart and then join me in prayer.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you that you live in my heart. May it be a place where you love to dwell. Lord, if there are things you do not like, please clean my heart as you cleaned the temple. Forgive me and help me to change. Lord, I see your holy anger in this Bible passage. Thank you, that I also know that you are full of grace and mercy, because it is written in 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” Lord, thank you that I can accept this gift of forgiveness each day. Thank you that you are willing to clean my temple, giving me this opportunity anew every day, by your grace, until you come again. Amen.