Cleansing the Temple – Then & Now

Holy Week Light in the Darkness of COVID-19

A pandemic is the perfect backdrop for Holy Week. The first Holy Week followed a series of horrific plagues and began with God’s people fleeing in haste. On this Holy Week of 2020, let’s join Jesus at some of the pivotal moments of His week.  Often in those passages, we see the burden on Jesus’ heart: He was troubled, anxious in heart. Emotions are part of the human experience. So, as we enter into this holy time with hearts made vulnerable by COVID-19, let us share in the ‘sufferings of Christ’ and yet rejoice knowing our passage to the Promised Land is paid!

If you missed the previous post in this series, visit:  Triumphal Entry

 

Cleansing the Temple

Jesus had cleared out the temple once before. At the start of His ministry three years before, His zeal for His father’s house exploded on the scene. After the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem, Jesus went straight to the Temple. He was – and is – always about the Father’s business.

In the first cleansing, the Jews challenged Jesus to present a sign to justify his actions. He spoke of ‘destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days.’ To which, the leaders simply scoffed. In the following three years, Jesus’ ministry demonstrated signs consistently. There was no need to request a sign in the latter cleansing…in fact, there was no immediate response. The following morning as Jesus and the disciples entered Jerusalem, a fig tree served to teach the disciples about the power of pure faith.

In contrast, at the temple, the Jews grappled to retain control of their comfortable religion. Responding to the conviction of the cleansing on the previous day, they chose to challenge to Jesus’ authority. He replied with a question of his own. ‘Where did John the Baptist’s authority come from?’ The Pharisees hedging response revealed that Truth was not their aim…maintaining the status quo mattered more to them. So, Jesus, said, ‘Neither will I tell you.’ He never casts ‘pearls’ before swine. Challenges and excuses reveal a heart unwilling to submit to the Lord.

But the treasures, the secrets of God, are open to sincere seekers. It often takes dark times to inspire us to seek the Light of the World.  The pandemic of 2020 is just such a time. As the world shakes with uncertainty, Truth that will stand the test of time becomes more treasured. Dark times initiate heart cleansing – which is the temple of this age. Repentance – turning from our pride and preferences – restores our heart to the temple God intends it to be: a place to meet with the King!

In this Holy Week, consider:

  • When have you chosen the comfort of religion over the challenge of faith? How is COVID-19 challenging your faith?
  • Recall a dark time in your life that led you to deeper Truths of Jesus.
  • Had there been hints of that Truth in the past that you missed?
  • What Truths of God are holding you fast in this time of uncertainty?

 

 

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