"Purifying Ourselves Through Proper Priorities"
There are many attractive things in our society today that are so easy to get entangled with -- hobbies, sports, TV, computer games & social media. They can take up so much of our time and can sometimes interfere with the purpose for which God created us: to share the good news of Christ, serve Him with our talents & gifts and bring glory to Him. If someone asked you "What is your priority in life,” could you answer directly? Or would you be left alone thinking of a good answer, but in reality be confused? Most people prioritize their own careers, ambitions and desires in life. Few good men are committed, selfless and sacrifice everything to serve God. I really admire them and thank God for them.
In today's Gospel, Jesus cleanses the temple because it is being abused by other people (this story is also found in Matthew, Mark & Luke). In John 2:14-16 it says, “And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen, sheep and doves and the money changers seated at their tables. 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. And to those who were selling the doves, He said, ‘Take these things away, stop making My Father's house a place of business.’" This incident may seem irrelevant to us today. We are in a place very distant from Jerusalem. How can this event relate to us?
God has the right to possess what is His. Here, Jesus claims the right to possess the temple because it is His. Christ second coming (event in future), is a time when He will come and fully possess what's His. Jesus speaks a good deal about stewardship. As we can see in the Gospels, we do not own anything. This puts everything we think of as our "possessions" in an entirely different light. They belong to God; we are merely stewards of His possessions. If we fail to make good use of them, we fail as stewards.
Jesus came to possess His temple. He had the right to define how men could use His temple and the right to correct those who abused it. The church is now being built up as His temple. Those who do damage to the church or God's temple are guilty of a most serious offense. If the church collectively is the temple of our Lord, it is also true that we are individually "temples of the Holy Spirit" (1Cor. 6:19-20). God owns us, He owns our bodies as His temple.
Our Lord's words also relate to our use of the church building (place of worship) as a house of prayer. God is with His people when they gather there. It's not the "building" He indwells, but the church, His body. But, is it possible that we can turn the church (building) into a house of merchandise? That danger exists, and we need to be very careful because there are a lot of things being sold in churches today. Let us think of our priorities. Christians should begin to view the need for effective ministry that ministers to the poor and those in great need. Jesus cleansed the temple because sinful activities interfered with worship. I believe our Lord also wants us to clean our hearts, attitudes and actions that are coming between us and God. We need to worship Him in spirit and in truth.