My wife and I are not the housecleaning type. It’s not like we live in a pigsty or anything – we do clean the house. It’s just that, given the choice between hanging out with each other or the kids and scrubbing toilets and washing floors, we will always choose the former. Growing up, my parents kept the house incredibly tidy. Floors were washed and vacuumed every Saturday, bathrooms were cleaned weekly, and beds were made on a daily basis. I was ‘raised right’ you might say, but to be honest with you, I cannot remember the last time I made my bed.
Throughout the course of 36 years of living, my life has accumulated quite a bit of junk and clutter as well. There are all sorts of things that I wish I could go back and change. Times I’ve ruined great relationships, valued myself over others, or placed a priority on my own comfort instead of what I knew was right. I still carry the baggage from traumatic loss, things I should’ve never said, and choices I made in the heat of bad moments. If I’m being honest, my life could really use a lot more than a rumba right about now.
At some point during the first few days of Holy Week, Jesus made His way to the temple for what I am sure His disciples thought was going to be nothing more than a religious observance of Passover. After all, it was one of, if not the most important of Jewish holy times, and they were in the Holy City. As the entered though, Jesus starts to do something that makes even the most irreverent of them, very uncomfortable.
Mark 11:15–19 (ESV)
And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching. And when evening came they went out of the city.
Jesus is cleaning house. His house, and He’s really serious about it. This is the most upset many people have ever seen Him, and it wasn’t about Him having some sort of obsessive need to have things clean. This isn’t about the filthiness of animals or the clamoring during the exchanging of money – this is about the hearts of all those who have walked through the temple gates. This is where people come to meet with Him, to give Him their hearts, and to hear His heart for them in return. This is a place where people come to offer sacrifices, to get clean from the garbage of life, and to be restored and renewed. This is where God resides, but it’s hard to get to Him with all the stuff that these people have put in the way.
I sometimes feel like from time to time, Jesus walks into my life and starts turning over tables. There’s just so much ‘stuff’ that gets in the way of me truly coming to Him, that at times I feel like I need something drastic to remind me that my body is now His temple. He lives inside of me, and it’s my job to keep His house in order. Despite my deficiencies in the physical housecleaning department, I have found that I really do find joy when my spiritual house gets put back in order. A clear and clean head, and a heart that is seeking after Him, calms the anxiety and refocuses me towards my ultimate goal of seeing His kingdom come on earth, as it is in Heaven.
Temples need cleaning too, and Jesus isn’t afraid to get more than elbow deep. Will you open up your world and let Him in?