Mark 11:15-17 “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 moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”
In reading this passage today for my devotions, I am reminded of this truth:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
In connecting the two, Jesus’ rebuke comes to me more personally. In a review of all that goes on in my soul, can I say that prayer is a regular activity? Is the gain or loss of worldly things more important to me than what I am commanded to covet or obey?
Jesus delivered very forceful and direct truth when He spoke with the religious of the day. Just over in the following chapter, one such comes to Jesus asking a question:
Mark 12:28 “And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?”
Sounds as if this scribe is listening and desiring that which Jesus is teaching. He wants to prioritize what it is he should be doing. In His response, Jesus points to truth for us all.
Mark 12:29-31 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”
Our ability to love like we are commanded is significantly hindered by what we stumble over to do what it is we are commanded to do.
There are some whose wounds and hurts become their badge of honor; they allow it to define them. It is as if they are proud to be the victim. I do not minimize any who are wounded or the situation and circumstance that brought them to that place. I am merely saying that in perspective, our wounds can hinder us from obeying the command of God we just read.
The zealousness with which our Savior displayed was not a fit of anger. Everything Jesus did was a deliberate act either prompted, directed, or commanded by the Holy Spirit of God. He chose to show distaste for what the temple had become – because of what it represented.
Should we not have the same intensity that God views us as His ‘temple’ as well?
We allow sin to stay because we are not readily judged. We easily dismiss the guilt and shame. We resist or even neglect the Holy Spirit’s prompting to deal with the sin at hand.
Because this ‘temple’ is to be a house of prayer, I should be zealous at that which keeps me from making it so. When my work, or the pursuit of money, and the gathering of possessions overtakes the place of prayer, something is not right. I am disobedient to the command to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.
The hinderances, or the cleanliness of my ‘house’ all point to how much I love Him.
IF I love like I am commanded, I will be zealous as my Savior is zealous against those things that keep me from loving as I should.
If one cleans their carpet in their home, they will not suffer someone with muddy shoes to walk through and soil it so quickly. They are enthusiastic for the work and cost to clean it. If we, regularly, cleansed our hearts; we would not allow sin to enter or linger long. We would clean the house regularly.
When we received Christ as Savior, we were made clean. Those sins we committed once we were made clean seemed exceedingly sinful. We must return to that attitude and perspective by regularly cleaning house.
In that way, we can truly love as we are commanded.