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Clean out the temple

Matthew 21:12-14

  “Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. And He said to them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.’ Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.”

  Here we find our Lord Jesus angry with those who bought and sold at the temple. In order to understand the profound metaphoric impact of this verse, we must understand what was actually happening more fully. In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifice in payment for sin. These sacrifices ranged from pigeons to cattle depending on the offense. When God gave these commands, Jesus had not yet come and thus, an innocent animal was the next best sacrifice to atone for sin. Originally, God intended not only a sacrifice to pay for sin, but He wanted this to be a lesson as well. He designed the system to cause people to bring their best, most prized animals to the temple for sacrifice when they had sinned in order that they might have such a negative emotional response that they learned their lessons about committing the egregious act again. In order to “make it easier” and make money, there were those who set up tables and chairs outside the temple in order to sell sacrificial animals to those who came to worship. In other words, the people who had to atone for their sin could just come to the temple and buy an animal to sacrifice. This activity had twofold impact on the hearts of men. First, those who purchased these animals were not themselves sacrificing so the mental and emotional percussion was not as poignant and thus the lesson not as deeply engraved in their hearts. Second, seeing the merchants there while the people were on their way to worship reminded them of their sin or caused them to attempt to make atoning sacrifice for the sins of loved ones. Basically they felt unnecessary pressure that originated externally and not from the provocation of the Holy Spirit necessarily.  Acknowledging these facts, reveals why Jesus was indignant at the money changers. They were changing money into sacrifices and money did not hold the same heart value in the life of the worshipers. The implications of this type of selling grace are vast and beyond the scope of this work but I do recommend sitting with the Lord and allowing Him to teach you from this perspective. 

    Moving forward, once Jesus has turned over the tables and violently driven out those who were participating in this watered down, ease of sacrifice trade, verse 14 finds that the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple and that He healed them. Think about it, the blind and lame who were in desperate need of help couldn’t pay for the sacrifices and couldn’t get by those who sold them owing to that fact so that they could ask the priests to pray to the Lord for their healing. They were simply out of luck as it were. This went against the heart of God and immediately God divulged His heart violently when He himself manifested on the scene. The blind and the lame came to Him. They couldn’t see nor walk so they had to be led or carried - this is an important point. 

    I have explained these three verses with this level of detail in order to lay a metaphoric foundation for our main point. That is, that once cheap religion is removed from the temple, healing ensues. 

    2 Corinthians 6:16 says that we are the temple of God now- for He does not dwell in temples made with hands. {Acts 7:48} 

   "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 among [them]. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”

    Let it be established that believers are now the temple of the Living God. If this is the case, and it is, our study verses take on an entirely new application. That is, since we are the temple, we cannot meet with God ourselves in prayer nor can others who need the Lord who resides on the inside of us meet with Him if we are engaged in religious activities of no value! Rather, our spirits and the spirits of others who need the living God residing inside of us are repelled because they have nothing with which to pay and are consistently reminded of their failures. This is what religion and religious rituals do. They constantly remind you that you are not good enough, that you don’t ever have enough to pay for your own sacrifice so naturally you avoid a true encounter with God because you do not believe you are worthy. Therefore, the first action that must be taken to expel this is to violently reject your own sacrificial religious activities as useless in receiving from the kingdom of God. Once this is accomplished, the Holy Spirit will lead you and carry you to the Holy one living in you so that you might receive freely from Him within His temple- ie your body. 

    In addition, once you have overturned the religion that surrounds the temple of God that is your heart, those who cannot see Jesus nor follow Him will likewise be led and carried by the Holy Spirit to you in order that they might be made whole by the Jesus who dwells within you! 

    Beloved, if there is in your life or in your heart any idea that you have to do this or that in order to encounter the Holy One of Israel, let it be violently overturned and be led by the Holy Spirit directly to the healing and restorative hands of Jesus Christ. 

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