Spirit & Truth # 229
“Jesus’ Eviction Notice”
By Rev. Greg Smith
After making a whip out of cords, He drove everyone out of the temple complex with their sheep and oxen. He also poured out the money changers' coins and overturned the tables. He told those who were selling doves, "Get these things out of here! Stop turning My Father's house into a marketplace (John 2:15-15 HCSB)!"
In this current economy, many homeowners are becoming renters, and some renters are becoming homeless. In both urban and rural settings, owners of unoccupied buildings often face the problem of squatters—uninvited guests who illegally move in and stake their claim. If the landowner is not in residence, they may never be aware of their unwanted residents. The problem with squatters is twofold: first, the landowner receives no payment for the shelter he provides; and second, squatters often do a lot of damage to houses that they occupy. Today’s scripture is about a different kind of squatter—not in an apartment building, but in the temple of God.
When Jesus went up to the temple, He saw the entryway full of venders and moneychangers, blocking people’s way to worship. While moneychangers were necessary to convert Roman coin to Jewish shekels for the temple treasury, they certainly did not need to be in such an obtrusive location, preventing people’s entrance to the sanctuary. While venders were essential so that people could purchase animals for sacrifice, they did not need to cause such a commotion by locating themselves in the temple proper. They had turned God’s house into a street bazaar, dishonoring God and essentially preventing people from worship. This angered Jesus, so He fashioned a whip of cords and drove them out of the temple.
The Bible says that if you are a believer, then you are the temple of God.[i] Jesus wants worship to flow freely in you, yet Christians often allow squatters to occupy the worship-centers of our hearts. Sin blocks us from true relationship with God, and it’s about time that sin receives its eviction notice.
One website[ii] suggests three things you need if you’re a landowner who needs to evict squatters from your building. First, you need a property lawyer, who understands all the legal ins and outs of evicting squatters. The Bible calls Jesus the Advocate, [iii] who constantly makes our case before the Father. Second, you need a professional eviction service, because evictions can get dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. James 4:7 (NIV) says, “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Squatting sin is unable to resist the Holy Spirit when He comes in to evict it. Third, you need ownership documents. God holds these papers in heaven, as our names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.[iv]
Remember that you are not the property owner. You are the property. “You are not your own…you have been bought with a price.[v]” When you find your life so jammed with sin that it prevents you from entering into relationship with God—when sin impedes worship and keeps you from God’s presence—let Jesus cast it out of your heart. Let Him purify you, His temple, and make you into the house of God.