When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. (John 2:15)
April showers bring May flowers—and the time for spring-cleaning. A little lady general will march in and draft her husband to join the window-washing brigade. Dirt has a way of accumulating. It can spiritually as well. We see in John 2 how the house of God was cluttered with carnality and covetousness. Christ comes to cleanse the Temple thoroughly. Bear in mind that our body is now the temple of the Holy Spirit. Does it need cleaning?
There was THE NECESSITY OF THE CLEANSING (John 2:13-14). God is love. He loves sinners or there would be no hope for us. But, He hates sin! His holy nature compels Him to visit judgment upon evil. God never sweeps sin under the carpet. The Son of God possessed the same nature as His Father—and we see His righteous anger boiling up and expressed forcefully in this text.
Religious racketeers had set up shop in the house of God. The area where business was being transacted was the court of the Gentiles—the place where Gentiles had to go to attend worship. Amid all the noise and smell of animals, the debate about the proper value of the currency exchanged, and the crowd of tables and people, worship for a Gentile was virtually impossible in those surroundings. For those Jews the Temple was no longer about the message of the prophets, but making some profits. What good does it do to speak about heaven, when our hearts testify we are living for this world? That is hypocrisy—and the house of God today often is rife with it. No wonder pagan people who might want to seek God observe this and turn away.
Then observe THE NATURE OF THE CLEANSING (John 2:15-17). Christ felt an overwhelming passion to cleanse the Temple. He forcefully took action. Do we have the same ruthless desire to drive out sin from our soul? It is easy to get comfortable with clutter. There were two drunks. After a night in the tavern, they staggered out into the sun. Squinting, one says, “What’s that I see?” His buddy answers, “That’s light!” Sniffing, the other says, “What’s that I smell?” His partner responds, “That’s fresh air!” We can become so accustomed to the darkness and stench of sin that it seems normal. May Christ confront us today with cords of conviction, driving us by discipline, upsetting the tables in our temple where we transact with worldliness rather than offer worship!
The religious leaders challenged Christ’s authority (John 2:18). Though they were blind to the truth, He responds that His authority would be affirmed by His crucifixion and resurrection (John 2:19-22). Can we cling to sin when it cost Him so much? If He conquered death, ought He not rule over our hearts? Beware lest we assume we are carnal Christians, when it is even worse—we may be counterfeits (John 2:23-25).
It is time for spring-cleaning—the cleansing of our lives of sin.
Dennis Thurman has pastored churches in Western North Carolina for 36 years. Currently, he is Senior Pastor of Pole Creek Baptist Church where he has served for almost 20 years. Married to Marilyn for 40 years, they have 5 children and 11 grandchildren.
This article was originally posted on Dennis’ blog, Mountain Top Musings