When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!” John 2:15-16 (NKJV)
As I was reading this devotional online this morning, my memory called back to a class at my alma mater, Liberty University. It was a 400 level class in the religion department – a filler class to make up an elective I needed. It was three hours every Thursday night, and at the time, I would approach the class with dread. It was a long three hours.
A year and a half later, however, I have realized that of all my classes at LU, Foundations of Prayer influenced my life for the long term more than any of the classes pertinent to my major. Something about the content stuck with me, and I find myself quoting Dr. Henderson’s teaching on almost a weekly basis whether to myself or others.
One of the most poignant sessions by Dr. Henderson was in the beginning of the semester, when he referred to this passage in John 2 – Jesus cleansing the temple – and then pointed to the multiple passages in Paul’s epistles that refer to us, Christ’s followers, as temples of the Holy Spirit. We have the Living God in us. If we are a temple, what merchandise is still standing in the courtyard?
Considering our hearts as temples of God’s presence is almost a frightening thought for me. What would He find there? How many tables, how much selling out and selfish profit, would He discover when He walked in? Is this house a house of prayer – or a house of worldly merchandise?
It was by violent means that Jesus drove the money lenders and all their precious ‘things’ out of the temple, restoring it to holy peace. When my heart becomes restless and anxious, there is a sign that too much ‘selling out’ is going on. What’s so busy inside of me, so pressing, that I cannot rest and pray? The temple was a beautiful and sacred place; so should be the heart of every believer. It is only when we fill ourselves with merchandise that the clamor of a marketplace drowns out God’s voice.
What merchandise is in your heart today? Let Christ drive it out – even if it’s sudden and painful. Your house should be a house of prayer.