12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.” Matthew 21:12-13
Jesus didn’t trash the place as some would describe. It’s why most refer to it as the cleansing of the Temple not the destruction or vandalization. Jesus simply put His house in order. Why? Because human brokenness and corruption had turned it into something it was never intended to be.
Worshippers who deeply loved God and who at great personal cost had traveled to Jerusalem were being taken advantage of by white collar thieves.
These abuses of the poor and the racketeering done by the leadership turned Jesus’ sadness into Holy indignation. Can you imagine coming home to find a bunch of people partying and messing with your stuff? You would be angry too. So quoting scripture from the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah “God says, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations and you have turned it into a robbers den.’”
What Jesus did was to reclaim the space for those who truly wanted to worship God. Jesus forcefully and symbolically removed the barriers humans erected that kept people from worshipping God. This is ultimately why Jesus came to earth. Our sin separates us from God and only Jesus can remove it. Jesus can reclaim the parts of your life where brokenness and sin have tried to move Him out.
Jesus had every right as God to do what he did. God once dwelt on earth in the tabernacle, at that time, He dwelt on earth in the temple as well as in the person of Jesus. Upon the sending of His Holy Spirit, He made any man made structure obsolete. Through his Spirit He now takes up residence on earth in the hearts of his followers.
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you may already know this: 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us; “19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.”
Even if you didn’t know it then I would guess you have sensed it. The temple of God is no longer made of stone, we are all living, breathing temples of the Holy God. So this begs the question, if you truly are the temple of God, and Jesus was to walk into his temple:
What barriers are in your life that are crowding out true worship of God?
How have you let, things, and stuff clutter up your life making true worship almost impossible?
Think about your life. “What needs to go?”
If Jesus was going to clear you as his temple, what would he have to remove to make space for worshiping him?
If you gave Jesus full access to your heart what would He clean out to make room for worshipping Him?