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In the Word

    by Chuck Livermore

Jesus Cleanses the Temple
Date Posted: April 14, 2009
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the moneychangers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers' money and overturned the tables. And He said to those who sold doves, "Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise!" Then His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up." So the Jews answered and said to Him, "What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." Then the Jews said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?" But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. John 2:13-22

Often when we think of cleansing the temple in a modern sense, we think of overturning the guest musician’s cd table in hallway outside the sanctuary or pouring out the urns at the donation only coffee bar in the fellowship hall. But Jesus wasn’t against commerce. He wasn’t advocating a barter-only society. Jesus wanted to cleanse all greed and worldly desires from the place that was God’s dwelling.

Church buildings do not take the place of the temple in the New Testament. What takes its place is our bodies. The Spirit inhabits our bodies. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?1 Corinthians 6:19NKJV. A better application of this passage would be cleansing the sin that dwells inside us. It is not selling books in a church that should upset a modern-day Jesus, it is the sin that we tolerate among God’s holy people.

The next time you feel that a good temple cleaning is in order, don’t start whipping the Boy Scouts selling popcorn in the foyer; start by driving out the greed and lust in your own heart.

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Biography Information:
Chuck Livermore's knowledge of the word is the result of a lifetime of study and reading. He is part of Galilee South Community Church, a multi-ethnic congregation in South Denver. He attended Wayland Baptist University and has participated in world evangelism through research of unreached peoples.
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