12 After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days. 13 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15 And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; 16 and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “ZEAL FOR YOUR HOUSE WILL CONSUME ME.”
This was the first of two “cleansings of the Temple.” I remember this part of Jesus’ story very vividly from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” This entire passage is summed up by the recollection of Psalm 69. Later, the Apostle Paul breaks it down more succinctly for the Corinthians in chapter 6 of his first letter to them:
12 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14 Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! 16 Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH.” 17 But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
You see, this is why Jesus got so ticked off at the marketplace in the temple. It wasn’t that He was opposed to selling things, but rather it was the disrespect afforded to God. He was making a point. As believers, we have God within us and therefore have a responsibility to honor God with our bodies. Likewise, we should continually work to cleanse this temple, and as was demonstrated during Jesus’ example in this story, it must be swift and all inclusive. He didn’t say it was ok for some merchants to say there, He got rid of them all! In addition to this, we should recognize that the cleansing will only truly happen if we let Christ in the temple to cleanse it! We see later that the temple fills again with merchants. What does this mean? It means not only must we cleanse the temple, but we must work at keeping it that way or else it is going to go right back to the way it was.
How can you cleanse your body to honor God? What is it inside you that dishonors Him? What is it inside you that is a distraction from Him purpose?