Money Changers in the Temple No More

The big-picture view of the Gospel and its priorities should inform and guide our life choices, provide wisdom and guide our personal priorities, but do we know what priorities the Gospel is asking us to adopt?

5549-53The name of this blog is “From 10,000 Feet” for a reason. It isn’t just a pretty name to catch people’s attention. It’s an attempt (hopefully somewhat successful) to zoom up to the “big-picture” view of the Gospel and provide simple and meaningful understanding of the key values of the Gospel. This Easter, we’ve all been thinking of the wonderful redemption which Christ has accomplished for everyone who receives it. That redemption goes much further than what’s generally understood in most evangelical churches and a lot more than what’s understood in mainline or Catholic churches. Throughout the various series of blog posts that include “Powerful Prayer”, “Becoming to Overcome”, “Are You a Pharisee?” and our current series on “Giftedness”, we’ve painted a picture of the depth and breadth of the full impact of the “deal” Christ has made us, and it is amazing.

In the last few days, I was reminded of the “cleansing” of the temple twice by Jesus. He drove the money changers out of the temple early in His ministry and then again just prior to His death and resurrection. Jesus was aware of the end of the temple sacrifice, and one would think He would have little interest in a system that was passing away, yet this wasn’t the case. The cleansing of the temple wasn’t done for the Jews. They just picked up where they left off until the temple was destroyed some 40 years later. The purpose of the cleansing was for the benefit of Jesus’ followers. He wanted to tell us something and He chose to demonstrate it through His actions. The story that Jesus created would be passed on within the Body of Christ for generations. Jesus was depending on the Holy Spirit to bring revelation and understanding to teachers and leaders in the church in order to convey His point.

The temple is the central theme of the story; Jesus not only cleansed it of its idolatry but asserted that its main purpose was for prayer. Considering that the temple system of worship was ending, it would be fair to assume that Jesus was saying to us that we are God’s temple and our main purpose is to pray. The story also points us to the impurity of materialism and the folly of religion. The money changers are those who use religion for their personal gain at the expense of the sincere and lowly. It implies that we all have a part of us that gravitates toward religion and its substitute – materialism. Jesus is saying that He will drive out those manifestations of the flesh and raise up the spirit (Holy Spirit) of prayer in those who follow Him. He is at enmity with idolatry and empty religion. Once we invite Him in, He sets to work cleansing the temple. The antithesis of religion is dedicated, sincere prayer.

Christ does the cleansing work but it’s our choice to commit and focus our life on prayer, as Jesus did, that makes the difference. The things that He taught were riddles to the public. Even His teaching to His disciples was veiled and understandable to only those who had the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Until the Holy Spirit came in its fullness after the resurrection, much of what Jesus was teaching and did for our benefit was a mystery.

hit-roadThe Gospel is hidden from the learned and “positioned”. Jesus does not share the deep mysteries of the Kingdom of God with just anyone. He saves this for His  friends and His sons and daughters. Intimacy with Christ is for those who follow Him and do His will. Revelation is for those who live for Him.

The cleansing of the temple is a priority-setting story for all who have ears to hear its wisdom. We were made for prayer – we are the temple of God. It’s our main function on Earth. The temple, however, must be cleansed in order for prayer to be effective. That’s not our job but it should be our desire. Today, if you commit to pray more, you will be responding to one of the most important calls, purposes, and functions of the church – to bring God’s will to Earth.

Happy Easter!

© Copyright 2014-15, Paul K. Weigel – All rights reserved.

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