Spirit & Truth # 267
“Cleansing MY Temple”
By Greg Smith
Every year around this time, my wife gets the notion to do some spring cleaning. She’ll say, “Honey, we need to de-clutter the basement.” Or, she’ll tell me, “Look at those windows! They need to be washed.” Or she’ll ask me to go to the hardware store and buy some paint. Every year around this time, I get the urge to go fishing. I wonder if somehow there’s a connection. I don’t think I’m alone. A lot of men try to avoid spring cleaning.
In Mark 11:1-20, Jesus doesn’t avoid spring cleaning, but marches right up to it. He doesn’t just choose any house. He chooses God’s house. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey while shouts “hosanna!” that ring from the palm-waving crowd. He then goes to the temple, takes a look around, and walks away. Yes—He just walks away.
Every now and then, I’ll read the Bible and discover something I’d never noticed before. Previously, I’d always pictured Jesus entering the temple, seeing the money changers, and overturning the tables immediately. But in actual fact, his first trip was a reconnaissance mission. He scoped it out, got angry about what he saw, but didn’t immediately react. Instead, he walked away to plan his protest for the following day. When Jesus drove out the merchants, He wasn’t throwing a “temple tantrum.” He was staging an intentional demonstration. Jesus was angry over the commerce that kept people from freely entering the house of worship. But if he had acted the first evening, his anger may have led Him into sin. Instead, He contained his anger and applied it to a deliberate decision to stage a more controlled complaint the following day. Yes, Jesus’ near-violent response was more controlled than it might have been, had he reacted the moment anger began to burn within him. Waiting a day allowed Jesus to temper his temper, and approach the situation in a sinless way, rather than a senseless way. All who have anger issues would do well to take a lesson from Him.
As He overturned the tables, Jesus 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.’” Just as He drove the rip-off artists out of the temple that day, Jesus wants to drive the robbers out of my heart today. In John 10:10 (NIV), Jesus says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus wants to cleanse MY temple (my heart, where God desires to dwell), and drive out everything that steals true worship and service from my soul. This means He wants to drive out my sin and anything else that robs me of purity, obedience, and blessing.
Jesus still cleanses temples. Today, He wants to drive the anger, greed, laziness, pride, lust, envy, and over-indulgence from your heart. I believe He wants to cleanse MY temple today. Don’t you think it’s time to let Him cleanse yours?