A man walks into a church. He’s a visitor, it’s his first time at the church. He’s in a good Sunday-morning mood, excited to be in God’s House. He greets everyone he meets with enthusiasm. He sings the hymns out loud, and ignores the funny looks he gets from those around him. During the “greeting time” he hugs people, blowing right past their cordial handshakes. He laughs at the pastor’s jokes and even shouts an “amen” during the sermon.
After service, a few of the good church people inform him that this isn’t how we worship at our church. They even suggest he might be more comfortable at a church across town. The man walks out of the building and dejectedly sits down on the front steps, sadly wondering what he did wrong.
The next thing he knows, someone sits down next to him and puts an arm around his shoulders. Looking up, the man is stunned to see Jesus. Jesus says, “Don’t feel too bad. I know what it’s like. I’ve been trying to get in that church for years.”
Holy Week is what we call the seven days leading up to Easter, beginning on Palm Sunday.
Today is Holy Monday.
It’s the day Jesus rolled in with a whip and cleared out the money-changers and merchants from the Temple.
It was preventing people from being able to pray and worship.
Imagine walking into a church service on a Sunday and the lobby/foyer/narthex/vestibule/entrance hall is filled with vendors selling shirts with the church logo on it.
What if you couldn’t get in to the worship service without wearing one of their shirts?
And what if they only accepted bitcoin as a form of payment? Oh, but look: there’s a guy who’d be happy to change your dollars to bitcoin—for a small handling fee, of course!
Would you stick around? Or walk out and go get brunch?
Jesus was ticked. The house of the Lord should be a place for worship. Instead it had become a zone for illegitimate business practices.
So Jesus cleansed the temple to make it accessible for people to get in and worship once again.
How is your temple holding up as a place of worship?
Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NLT
What have you allowed inside that gets in the way of worshiping God?
Today, make this your prayer:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Psalm 139:23-24, NLT
Read it, then read it again. Cleanse your temple and ask God to purify your life so you can honor Him.