You might remember the occasion when Jesus cleared the temple in Jerusalem during the final week leading up to his crucifixion:
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, "Is it not written: 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations'? But you have made it 'a den of robbers.'" (Mark 11:15-17)
Jesus saw the state of the Jewish temple. What was meant to be the one place on earth where you could draw near to God, regardless of your nationality or ethnicity (Isaiah 56:7), the Jewish establishment of Jesus' day had converted into a marketplace. Worse yet, they even managed to convert it into a shortcut for those traveling to and from the Mount of Olives, just East of Jerusalem and the temple courts. There was no true worship going on. No awe. No reverence. Only empty rituals and legalism. So, Jesus flipped the tables and drove everyone out, temporarily purifying the temple courts, if at least for that day.
Today, followers of Christ—whether as individuals or gathered as the church—are the temple of God, where his presence dwells (1 Corinthians 16:9). And when Jesus takes us to our heavenly home, heaven itself will be the temple of God for us, where he will dwell with us (Revelation 21:1-3, cf. Revelation 21:22). But what do we make of a table-flipping Christ in God's temple today? Especially as we realize God no longer dwells in buildings but rather in his redeemed children wherever they might be gathered, how to we apply Jesus' desire for genuine worship today?
To start, we can ask ourselves, "Are there any tables that need to be flipped over within my own heart?" In other words, is there anything set up or camping out in our hearts that is stopping God from producing the true fruit of worship and prayer in us? If there is, we can humbly ask Jesus to flip those tables for us, so that we could love God well. Furthermore, we can ask ourselves, "Is there anything in my heart that is preventing 'all nations' from drawing near to God?" In other words, are there any attitudes, motives, or desires in us that are preventing our neighbors from drawing near to or seeing God through us? If so, we can humbly ask Jesus to drive them out, so that we could love all our neighbors well, and so that all peoples around us could see Jesus in and through us.
This week, spend some time searching your heart, and humbly ask God to flip over, drive out, or change anything that needs to be changed for his honor and glory, for your good, and for the good of the people around you.
Scripture for Meditation
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8-10)
God, I confess that I have noticed _________________ in my heart. Please drive it out, so that I could love you well, and so that I could love my neighbors well. Amen.