Cleansing the Temple

Yesterday my thoughts were on spiritual disciplines and the necessity for periodic inventory, as called for in Steps 4 and 10 of Twelve Step living. One must be courageous – and relentless- in rooting out idols in the heart. Today’s devotional by Joni Eareckson Tada is an appropriate follow up to that. What do we do when a self examination through spiritual disciplines and life in accountable community leads to the discovery of sin and idols in the Lord’s temple? Do we excuse it? Do we turn aside and deny it?

Jesus… Taking a Stand

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer” but you are making it a ‘den of robbers.'” Matthew 21:12-13
It’s easy to picture a kindly, loving Jesus. We’ve had lots of help on that score from religious artists down through the centuries. The Lord sentimentally pictured with children, lambs, and birds. You can almost hear the organ music.
But it’s challenging to visualize an angry–violently angry–Jesus Christ. You can almost see him overturning cash registers, grabbing the money changers by the scruff of their necks and heaving them out the temple door on their self-righteous backsides.
Jesus, full of fury, took a stand. No one, He asserted, was going to make His Father’s house into a haven for con men and rip-off artists. Jesus ripped the mask off hypocrisy. He exposed dark recesses of the hearts of greedy, materialistic men. Jesus squared off against sin.
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We need to fully meditate on portions of Scripture such as Matthew 21 in order to get a more complete picture of the way the Lord dealt with sin. If we think that Jesus always confronted sin gently, as with the woman at the well or with the one caught in adultery, remember that Matthew 21 records that He drove out all who were buying and selling-that includes innocent townspeople who had come to merely purchase doves for offerings.
Friend of Sinners, don’t be gentle with any sin that I might be safeguarding in my life. Expose the dark recesses in my heart, square off against my sin and uproot it out of my life. Amen

Joni Eareckson Tada July 5 2014

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