It’s our first post of the year. Are you as excited as I am??? Maybe not. Because beyond being the first post of the year, I am so excited about what I plan to share with you today, and you don’t know what that is yet, or you would be screaming with joy as well!
First off, Happy New Year and of course, welcome to Feb-yoo-er-e. I’m aware many people have had a sort of reevaluation or resolve in the month of January to make 2020 a great year, being the first month and the beginning of the year. In that same spirit, we’ll be starting off blogposts for the year with a sort of spiritual examination. And by that, I mean looking into the Bible to see what we need to do to set our walk with God in order this year, because God above all else, right?
“MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER” – Matthew 21:13 AMP
You may be familiar with this story. It is a short and vivid account of Jesus’s outburst of anger when he discovers something unpleasant in the Temple. So what happened exactly? Here:
“12 Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. 13 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!” 14 The blind and the lame came to him in the Temple, and he healed them.”Matthew 21:12-14 NLT
Certain things are clear as we read these three verses: Jesus got angry. He put an end to buying and selling in the Temple. He quotes scriptures. Yes, he refers to things written before time (cf. Isaiah 56:7 & Jeremiah 7:11). And then, he heals the blind and the lame. However, this is what I was made to understand on a deeper level by the Holy Spirit when I read these verses last month.
We can agree that the Temple at the time was synonymous in meaning to what we now call the church, and yes, we can apply our understanding of these verses to our churches today. But today and in this dispensation of the Holy Spirit, here’s the angle I want you to see it from. In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, we are made to understand that we are God’s temple. Our bodies and our lives are not ours, but God’s. Looking back at Matthew 21:12-14, we can see that the same principles apply. But let’s break it down and ask introspective questions for better understanding.
Jesus went straight to the Temple and threw out everyone who had set up shop, buying and selling. He kicked over the tables of loan sharks and the stalls of dove merchants.
He quoted this text: My house was designated a house of prayer; You have made it a hangout for thieves.
Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.MATTHEW 21:12-14 MSG
- First of all, if we are God’s temple, what are the things in our lives that have set up shop? Who are the loan sharks? Who are the dove merchants? What are the things buying and selling?
Jesus has just stepped into Jerusalem. The city is brimming with joy. People are shook with amazement. A man of glory is in their midst. It’s a time of rejoicing and celebrating, but BOOM!, there’s a switch. Jesus heads directly into the Temple and begins to upset every unpleasant thing. It was the wrong place for things of the sort to happen. As temples of God, we have the same responsibility to examine our lives. What are the things which have turned you and me (a designated house of prayer) into something else (a hangout for thieves)?
Dishonesty? Fornication? Lust? Depression? Name it. These things as Jesus calls it are thieves. And I like how The Message says it – they have set up shop. I can almost bet that everyone reading this has had one kind of shopping experience or the other. Think about how busy shopping gets – always running out of time, touching products, putting them back again, going back and forth to a particular stall in a market place, or walking the same aisle in a mall, the busyness, the indecision, the exchange of currencies, the children running around, the exposure – your ears pick up different conversations and all that stuff, and I know you get it. So imagine that. Ask yourself: as God’s temple, what has set up shop in my life and has distracted me from God?
- What happens when the thieves are gone?
As you read the last verse i.e. verse 14, do so carefully. In these three verses, we see three things in each verse. Verse 12 reveals Jesus’s anger. Verse 13 reveals His Purpose. Verse 14 shows us His compassion. So, first off, Jesus wants us to get rid of the weight and sin which easily beset us (Hebrews 12:1), then He reaffirms His purpose for our lives. He literally says, “Daughter, Son, this is my plan for you. This is who you are. You are my temple – my house, my residence!” Now the third verse is my favorite because it says a whole lot. It says, “Now there was room for the blind and crippled to get in. They came to Jesus and he healed them.”
NOW THERE WAS ROOM…
Jesus wasn’t asking for perfection in the Temple, but He makes us understand that if we do not overthrow the hangout of thieves, we leave no room for healing! While the moneychangers set up shop in the temple, the blind and lame were out of the temple. The miraculous could not take place because there was no room. Think about that. As the temple of the Holy Spirit, we leave no room for God to heal and deliver if we keep setting up shops. More so, we leave no opportunity to become privileged vessels of God. The temple became an instrument of healing. In the same vein, we can become vessels unto honor when we make the decision to clean up.
My nephews and nieces 4 and below are fond of turning the whole place upside down. When I’m babysitting, and I’m in the mood to give them a little treat – maybe ice cream or what not, I tell them to clean up first. With a similar force of energy, they begin to pick up the toys and they start chanting “Clean up, Clean up, everybody clean up.” And boy, I love to see it! Of course, they are MAKING ROOM for something else. The same thing applies to us as believers. We have a responsibility to go to God and make a conscious effort to let go of the things which do not edify or make us better persons or things which steal from our time with God. Remember, we’re not trying to be perfect; we can’t do that all on our own. But we need to make room for the one who can. His name is Jesus.
With Overflowing Love,