Shortly after being baptized and beginning His ministry, Jesus travels to Jerusalem for the Passover. He is likely looking forward to this Passover as an opportunity to start teaching His message. So, imagine His dismay when He enters the temple area and views what is happening there.
Since many visitors who are coming to the temple likely want to make sacrifices, and they wouldn’t have brought along their own animals for this purpose, a veritable farmer’s market has been set up to sell the necessary animals for the occasion. You can just about hear the hawkers trying to attract customers:
“Get your sheep here! Guaranteed to forgive all your sins! Best prices in the temple!”
“Don’t have the right currency? No problem — just see the moneychangers over there, and they’ll get you set up for just a small fee.”
With all of the noise and confusion and fear of not getting what you want or being cheated, how can anyone focus on connecting with God in the temple?
Recognizing this, Jesus takes matters into His own hands. He literally clears the temple, overturning the tables of the moneychangers and driving out the animals and those who were selling them and then proclaiming, “Make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (John 2:16).
When everyone is gone — Ah, peace and quiet. Now we can focus on worshipping God.
As a servant of God, you are considered a “temple of the Holy Ghost” (1 Corinthians 6:19). Every day, your “temple” is likely bombarded with a series of problems, concerns, fears, decisions to be made, challenges to be overcome, etc. In the midst of all of this “noise,” don’t you find it difficult to focus on your relationship with God?
In order to continue developing spiritually, it’s important that we occasionally “clear the temple” — put all of the cares of life on hold for a little while — and just spend time communing with the Lord. That time can be spent in prayer, meditation, studying the Word of God, reading the daily blogs or anything that draws you closer to God.
It’s difficult to do these things — or even find time to do them — when there’s a lot of stuff swirling around in our minds. So, clear the temple. Seek some peace and quiet. Focus on being close to God.
At the very least, our time in church should allow us the opportunity to commune with the Lord. In order to maximize that opportunity:
Clear Your Schedule
Don’t let the busyness of life encroach on your church meetings. We’re not talking about a large amount of time, so clear that time. Keep it exclusively for God.
Clear Your Mind
As the song says, “Leave your troubles all behind.” Use your time in church as a time to not worry about problems at work or financial woes or relationship issues. If necessary, leave them at the door when you enter the church. Don’t worry, you can pick them up when you leave (although they’ll hopefully feel a little lighter then).
Clear Your Purpose
Make sure you understand within yourself why you are going to church. If you’re looking for personal recognition, then you may be disappointed. If you’re expecting to visit with specific people, then what happens if they’re not there? If you’re trying to make money in some way, then see John 2:16 above.
The primary purposes for going to church are to receive a blessing from God (through all that is done there) and to be a blessing to others. Any other purpose will make it difficult to focus on these primary purposes.
Jesus knew that a crowded, noisy, worldly temple was not conducive to cultivating a relationship with God. The enemy today throws all kinds of stuff at us to make our lives crowded, noisy, and worldly. So, just as Jesus cleared the temple that day in Jerusalem, we need to find time to clear our own temples of life in order to continue cultivating our all-important relationship with God.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.