Tag: cleansing the temple
Scripture reading for May 2nd: John 2:1-25
Jesus Christ was a glorious man and the Son of God! His glory came from within, as He had nothing supernaturally special about His physical appearance. (Isaiah 53:2) This glory came from a life totally submitted to God and under control of the Holy Spirit. (John 5:30) This glory came as a result of purity in thought, word, and deed that no other human was capable of because of their sin nature. Jesus revealed His glory through His life of obedience to the Father and John the Apostle has written down some unique miracles and incidents that show this glory and prove Jesus was the Son of God and worthy to believe in.
The wedding at Cana in Galilee was graced by Jesus and His mother. At this wedding feast, they ran out of wine and Jesus’ mother came to Him and asked for help. Jesus at first was reluctant to get involved, but wanting to honor God by honoring His mother, He gave instructions to the servants to draw water in six stone jars of about thirty gallons each. They then took this water to the banquet host to sample. When he tasted it, he was amazed that this wine was the best of the banquet! “This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed His glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him.” (John 2:11) This revelation of glory produced faith in His disciples.
The next sign of His glory wasn’t so exciting to the religious folks of His day. Jesus entered the temple courts and found men selling and trading and changing money. He made a whip and drove them out, overturning the tables of the money changers! Jesus reprimanded them, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn My Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16) His disciples remembered later that the Scriptures said that zeal for God’s house would consume the Messiah.
The religious leaders asked Jesus for a miraculous sign to give proof of His authority to drive the money changers from the temple. Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:18-23) This was to be the greatest sign of His glory given to the whole world! Jesus spoke of the resurrection of His body after three days in the grave! He arose!
Scripture reading for January 29th: Matthew 21:1-27, Psalm 19:1-6, Proverbs 5:15-18
Jesus gave instructions to his disciples before entering Jerusalem. They were to go into the village and find a donkey with her colt tied there and bring them to Jesus. Jesus was in need of a special ride into town, because this would fulfill prophesy written by Zechariah nearly 600 years earlier. “Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” (Zechariah 9:9) God has everything planned and for our faith and benefit, it is written down.
Jesus entered Jerusalem as their King and a large crowd followed Him and welcomed Him shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9) The whole city was stirred and began to question whether or not this was Messiah. Most considered Jesus to be a prophet of some sort. However, the chants of the crowd seemed to indicate that this might be the long-awaited Messiah.
” Jesus entered the temple and began to drive 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) What Jesus did next was shocking to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day. He was angry as He turned over the tables and drove those who were changing money out of the temple. This King took control over the temple and those in authority wondered where He got that authority! His words were those spoken by Jeremiah as he addressed the religious leaders for their hypocrisy right before the captivity! (Jeremiah 7:9-11)
It is easy to cry “Hosanna” and welcome the King. It is not so easy to have the King come showing anger over our sins! Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit now. Are you allowing things in your body or spirit that will arouse the anger of a Holy King should He visit? It is better to do housecleaning now and be ready to welcome Him! Jesus came riding on a donkey to Jerusalem, but next time will come riding on a white horse as “King of Kings!” (Revelation 19:11-16)
Scripture reading for May 13th: Nehemiah 11-13
Would you like to be remembered by God for the good works you accomplish? It would be a great honor to have God’s smiling approval recorded for all to read and know. Some in Scripture have had this honor and Nehemiah is one of them. Others have had a record of their accomplishments but God called them “evil” and wrote them down as a bad examples! Let’s look at Nehemiah’s last four prayers of petition to the Lord, see his heart, and learn why God answered his prayers with favor!
“Remember me for this, O my God, and do not blot out what I have so faithfully done for the house of my God and its services.” Nehemiah 13:14
Nehemiah is asking to be remembered for cleansing the temple of Tobiah the Ammonite, who Eliashib the priest had given a room in the temple. Nehemiah threw out all his things and cleansed the room. (Nehemiah 13:1-2,7-9) Nehemiah also found out that the Levites had not received their portion of the tithes and therefore had to return to work, neglecting the work in the temple. He rebuked the officials who had allowed this and ordered the Levites back to work in the temple. He reminded the people to bring their tithes into the storehouse and replenish the storerooms that had been neglected. Nehemiah did this because he loved the Lord’s house and knew the people needed the services of the priesthood. He knew that they needed to bring their tithes into the temple for their own worship and good! Faithfulness to God’s house is always remembered and rewarded!
“Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember me for this also, O my God, and show mercy to me according to your great love.” Nehemiah 13:22
Nehemiah next rebuked the people for doing business on the Sabbath, closed the gates, and warned those bringing goods to remove them on the Sabbath. (Nehemiah 13:12-18) He was concerned that God’s wrath would come upon the people for their disrespect of God’s commandment. He was looking out for their welfare. This probably was not popular but was necessary and God remembered him for it!
“Remember them, O my God, because they defiled the priestly office and the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites.” Nehemiah 13:29 “Remember me with favor, O my God.” Nehemiah 13:30b
The last recorded deed of Nehemiah was his dealing with mixed marriages in Judah and the priesthood. This greatly disturbed this man of prayer and he rebuked the offenders strongly, even beating and pulling out the hair of some of them! (Nehemiah 13:25) He made them swear not to give their daughters or allow their sons to marry outside the nation of faith. He reminded them of Solomon’s sin in this area. He was a bad example even though he was loved by God and made king! Sin requires decisive action or it corrupts and defiles and brings God’s wrath. Wise leaders take action! In doing so, they are “remembered with favor” by the Lord! Would that be your prayer today?
Scripture reading for May 1: 2nd Chronicles 29-32
The times we are in are not new. There is nothing new under the sun, according to Solomon. Today we find our country in economic turmoil with banks failing, foreclosures mounting in the housing sector, and the job market shrinking. We find many of our children leaving the path of the Lord and going into captivity in the world system of humanism and self-gratification. Many churches are losing members and there are few young families in attendance. What is behind all of this? The anger of the Lord has been poured out on our nations because we have forsaken Him and left Him out of our lives!
This was the case 2700 years ago in Judah under King Hezekiah. The wrath of God was poured out on the nation because they had forsaken Him! Many had fallen to the violence of that day. Women and children were in captivity and the nation was in terror and fear. (2nd Chronicles 29:8-9) King Hezekiah began to set things in order. His plan of action was the setting of priorities for success and the blessing of God again. The first step he took was to reopen the doors of the the temple and repair it’s doors. (2nd Chronicles 29:3-6) He brought in the priests and Levites and had them consecrate themselves first and then they began to cleanse the temple. They removed all defilements from King Ahaz and restored the utensils and furniture that he had removed.
The next thing was to gather all the leaders and renew the covenant with the Lord by sacrifice. Sin must be confessed and atoned for. Sin brings death so in their case, animals had to die on their behalf. The blood was sprinkled on the altar. (2nd Chronicles 29:24) The king and the people sang and worshiped as the sacrifices were being offered. The Levites played and led the singing. The people bowed and worshiped and offered themselves with joy and gladness! The people brought thank offerings and sacrifices for themselves. This work was done quickly because God had brought it about through a godly leader, Hezekiah!
If you find your life in turmoil and fear and your family in captivity, the plan of Hezekiah might work well for you. Is your temple in disrepair? Is it cluttered with idols and remnants of the world system? Begin by removing the clutter and idols and turn to the Lord in humble repentance. Consecrate your life to the Lord again and establish a regular pattern of worship. Claim the blood of the last and only perfect sacrifice to be sufficient to atone for your sins! Jesus Christ has done all that is needed to cleanse your temple and cover your sin! He wants your life to be marked by joy! He can do a “quick work” in your life too! These ancient words from Hezekiah are as true today as then! May you have great success!