Today’s Gospel: John 2:13-22
In John’s Gospel, the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple takes place early on in Jesus’ ministry, soon after he is baptized by John in the Jordan River. In Matthew, Mark and Luke, the story of Jesus cleansing the Temple takes place during Jesus’ last days, shortly before he is put to death. Many scholars think that Jesus throwing the money changers out of the Temple was the straw that broke the camel’s back and the direct cause of his arrest and crucifixion. Up until that point, the religious authorities had tolerated Jesus’ radical teachings, his flouting of Sabbath laws and his strange disciples. But when his actions threatened to undermine the revenue stream for the Temple, well, that was more than they could abide and Jesus had to go. They saw Jesus as a direct threat to their way of life, and that was not something they could tolerate.
Here is my question for this morning. If Jesus were to walk into our lives today, what might he want to overturn and toss out? If he were to enter the Temple of our hearts, what thoughts and behaviors and beliefs would he want to drive out? Maybe we still find it impossible to let go of our anger at someone in our lives. Maybe, we find it impossible to let go of some negative understanding of ourselves. Maybe we cling to jealousy, bigotry, or pride and Jesus, if we let him in, would want to pull these things out of us so that we can let them go. Whatever those things are, they are precisely the things that stand between us and God. They are what separate us from God and from our better selves. During these forty days of Lent, pray for God to help you purge the Temple of you heart so that when you arrive at the empty tomb on Easter morning you are ready to welcome him who would give you the gift of life eternal.
Almighty God, you know that we have no power in ourselves to help ourselves: Keep us both outwardly in our bodies and inwardly in our souls, that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
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