Sunday (March 11): Gospel Reading: J
- 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers at their business. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all, with the sheep and oxen, out of the temple; and he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; you shall not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.” 18 The Jews then said to him, “What sign have you to show us for doing this?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover feast, many believed in his name when they saw the signs which he did; 24 but Jesus did not trust himself to them, 25 because he knew all men and needed no one to bear witness of man; for he himself knew what was in man.
Old Testament Reading: Exodus 20:1-3,7-8,12-17
1 And God spoke all these words, saying, 2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
7 “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. 8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you. 13 “You shall not kill. 14 “You shall not commit adultery. 15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”
Meditation: What can keep us from God’s presence? Jesus’ dramatic cleansing of the temple was seen by his disciples as a prophetic sign of God’s action. The temple was understood as the dwelling place of God among his people. When God delivered his people from slavery in Egypt, he brought them through the sea, and finally to Mount Sinai where he made a covenant with them and gave them a new way of life embodied in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). God gave Moses instruction for worship and for making the Tabernacle, or Tent of Meeting, which was later replaced by the temple in Jerusalem. The New Testament tells us that these “serve as a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary” – God’s Temple in heaven (Hebrews 8:5). Jesus’ cleansing of the temple is also a prophetic sign of what he wants to do with each of us. He ever seeks to cleanse us of sin so that we may be living temples of his Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). Do you recognize God’s indwelling presence with you and do you thirst for holiness in your personal life so that you may reflect his goodness and character within you?
When Jesus went up to Jerusalem at Passover time, he spoke of the temple as his Father’s house which was being made into “house of trade” (John 2:16) and “den of robbers” (Mark 11:17). That is why he used physical force to expel the money-chargers. The prophecy of Malachi foretold the coming of the Lord unexpectedly to his Temple to “purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, till they present right offerings to the Lord” (Malachi 3:1-4). Jesus’ disciples recalled the words of Psalm 69: “Zeal for your house will consume me.” This was understood as a Messianic prophecy. Here the disciples saw more clearly Jesus perform a public sign and act of judgment as the Messiah who burned with zeal for his Father’s house.
The Jewish authorities, however, wanted proof that Jesus had divine authority to act as he did. They demanded a clear sign from God to prove Jesus’ claim, otherwise, they would treat him as an imposter and a usurper of their authority. Jesus replied that the sign God would give would be his own resurrection from the dead: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up”. The Jews did not understand that the temple Jesus referred to was his own body. The “tent of his body” had to be destroyed on the cross as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Jesus’ blood which was shed for each one of us cleanses us of sin and opens the way for us to enter into the presence of the living God. Through his death and resurrection, Jesus not only reconciles us with our Father in heaven – he fills us with his Holy Spirit and make us temples of the living God (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).
Do you allow the Holy Spirit to enlighten and cleanse your mind of all that is contrary to his truth, love, and will for your life? The Holy Spirit will heal all that is broken within us and he will give us new hearts that seek to please God in all things. The Lord wants to heal, restore, and free us today from every sin and every obstacle that might hold us back from giving him our whole lives as a sacrifice of praise and worship. Ask the Holy Spirit to set your heart on fire with the love of God and with a holy zeal to be united with the Father in his house both now and forever.
“Lord Jesus Christ, you open wide the door of your Father’s house and you bid us to enter confidently and joyfully that we may worship in spirit and truth. Help me to draw near to your throne of mercy and grace with gratitude and joy”.
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.