First a verse which I need to turn to on a daily basis:
(1Cor 8:2) And if any man thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know.
(1Cor 8:3) But if any man loves God, the same is known by him.
Lets look at the verses that describe Jesus clearing the temple to understand what He is doing:
(Matt 21:12) And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
(Matt 21:13) And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.
(Matt 21:14) And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
It doesn’t even say Jesus was angry but people try to attribute anger by the actions.
(Mark 11:15) And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
(Mark 11:16) And would not allow that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
(Mark 11:17) And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but you have made it a den of thieves.
(Luke 19:45) And he went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold therein, and them that bought;
(Luke 19:46) Saying unto them, It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves.
(John 2:14) And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
(John 2:15) And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables;
(John 2:16) And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things away; make not my Father’s house a house of merchandise.
(John 2:17) And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of your house has consumed me.
(John 2:21) But he spoke of the temple of his body.
(John 2:22) When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
(Ps 69:9) For the zeal of your house has eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached you are fallen upon me.
Zeal means fervent, jealousy, and heat. It does seem compatible with anger.
Some have suggested that John’s account is the first cleansing and that the synoptic gospels are relating a second cleansing which occurred a week before Jesus’ death.
I’m not sure if It matters whether Jesus cleared the temple once or many times for this discussion. I know He has cleansed me and I know I need Him to continue cleansing me.
‘Father, help me be honest about my condition. Help me admit that there are merchandises polluting my temple – my body, my life. Then take them out. Thank you.’
The relevant verse is Jn 2:21 where the disciples remembered He was talking about the temple of His body. He is also speaking about the temples of our bodies.
(1Cor 3:16) Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
(1Cor 3:17) If any man defiles the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.
(1Cor 6:19) What? know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have of God, and you are not your own?
(1Cor 6:20) For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
One example of a way to clean the temple is to flee fornication: (1Cor 6:16) What? know you not that he who is joined to a harlot is one body? for two, says he, shall be one flesh.
(1Cor 6:17) But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
(1Cor 6:18) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body.
Another example of cleaning the temple is to get rid of idols: (2Cor 6:16) And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? for you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
(2Cor 6:17) Therefore come out from among them, and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
(2Cor 6:18) And will be a Father unto you, and you shall be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
It is obvious to me that the television is an idol. It holds a place of prominence in the home. It is lifted up. Given much time and attention. I don’t think you can never watch tv but it easily becomes an idol. Before I watch tv I know I think ‘I’m sorry God, I just don’t feel like doing what you want right now. I’m tired and am just going to zone out on this idol called tv.’
Then there are ads and promotions by the stories leadings and outright horrible things that come through the tv. As a false god it brings many hideous messages. One of which is that I need things to make me happy. I need to buy more. It tries to change my pure desire of more of Jesus into a desire for more money. Not that that desire doesn’t creep in through other means but tv doesn’t help either.
I have much experience with television. I have watched many hours of sports and movies. I have an embedded love for television, movies, you tube – you name it. It never occurred to me to repent of loving these more than Jesus.
‘I am sorry God for the thing i made it.’
Through His grace I have been able to watch videos much less. There is a peacefulness that comes and an ability to be more honest with myself about what matters. It is definitely an enlightening experience. I recommend a media fast for everyone. It is very eye opening.
Stop stealing and being dishonest are two more ways to clean this temple. I can go on and I will go on. Jesus keeps pointing out ways to clean this temple, which is me. I am glad He does. If I continue cleaning and purifying, He will become greater in me and I will be less corrupt.
This is what I desire more than things. To be with Him. To feel His arms wraped around me in love. This happens from a Holy God more when I am holy.
It is not about having a church that is pristine. God does not care if the places we gather are broken down shacks. He does care that our hearts are pure and holy. Why? not to place this great burden to follow the rules perfectly but to show us how to be with Him.
To show us how we were made to work. To show us how to fill up on the water which is Him that springs to life and shoots out like fountains of love.
God is not like our idols. He is not like the TV sitting there trying to deaden our mind tell us lies and convince us to want things that are not good for us. God is the opposite of that. He is there to bring life to us. He is there telling us the truth.
The truth is He loves us more than we love ourselves. He loves us in a way that is beyond human reasoning and imagination. His love is not like anything we have humanly experienced.
If I can”t strive to be pure only because God said so as an act of obedience – then do it because I wish I was pure like before I became corrupted by the things of this world. Examine the longing in my own heart. Do I really want purity or is filth the way I want to go?
Its a good question.
I want to end with the picture that came into my head about the temple being cleaned. I walked in a store that had tons of stuff. The shelves were full and yet it was disgusting to me. What a whole lot of nothing I thought. Then the idea that Jesus felt very strongly about not having merchants in the temple came to me. Then the idea that all these material things that I want are cluttering my temple. I need to clean myself of materialism so that there is room for who belongs on the throne in me – Jesus, Father, Holy Spirit.
Ps I’m not saying I will never watch another video. It is good to stay informed. But my priority needs to be Jesus informing me.
The other word that I gleaned from reading the accounts again is that the temple is to be a house of prayer. ‘Jesus, help me be a house of prayer for you. Help me to talk to you through out the day more. You are my source of information.’