(This post is part of our blog series on Holy Week in preparation for Easter 2015. Click here to find additional posts from this series.)
Yesterday, I wrote about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem; His final entrance into that city on His way to the cross. Monday was the day that Jesus went into the temple and cleaned house; an action that further garnered the praise of the people and further incensed the Pharisees. Jesus visited the temple late in the day on Palm Sunday, so he knew what He would find when He arrived there Sunday: merchants targeting pilgrims visiting Jerusalem to profit greatly on their religious devotion. Filled with passion for the glory of His Father and the purity of the temple, Jesus overturns tables and forcibly removes the unscrupulous swindlers. He declares that the temple has been profaned and turned into a den of robbers, when it should be a house of prayer.
Take some time to read the accounts of Jesus cleansing the temple in Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18 and Luke 18:45-48.
The people (especially devoted disciples of Jesus) must have been thrilled to see Jesus acting as the Messiah should; challenging the doldrums and hierarchy of tradition without passion. And though He seems to be setting things right, all that’s happening in the minds of the religious leaders in Jerusalem is a confirmation of their desire to be rid of Him.
There’s all sorts of ways that we can reflect on this scene, but I want to focus on the righteous anger of Jesus and His zeal for the holiness of God. If your faith is in Jesus, how often do you remember that God no longer resides in the temple in Jerusalem, but through the Holy Spirit He resides in YOU? We can be so tempted to treat sin with a kind of indifferent passivity as opposed to the violent reproach that we see coming from our Lord. I see Jesus so indignant at the blasphemies against His name and wonder how often I’m willing to wage war on my sin in the same way. As we approach Good Friday and Easter, let us be people that are pursing holy obedience to Christ through the empowering work of the Holy Spirit to the glory of our Heavenly Father. As you meditate on God’s work in your life, pray for His help to have this same kind of contempt for your sin and to make true strides in holy obedience.