Clearing the Clutter:
“When you have cleared all of your clutter, you can be of greater service to those around you.” Michael B. Kitson
My Christian corollary: When Christ clears your clutter, He can use you to be of greater service to Him and others.
Image retrieved from http://oca.org/reflections/fr.-john-jillions/february-12-2013
John 2:13–22 (ESV) 13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
• Jesus was compelled to defend the focus of the Temple (Ps 69:9; 119:139), the dwelling place of God. (16-17)
• Jesus gives what I believe is His first prophecy regarding his death and resurrection.(18) In regards to His prophecy, first he declares that those listening will be responsible for the death of Jesus. This very statement was what appeared to condemn Jesus at his trial. (Mat 27:40) He will be responsible for resurrecting Himself. This is a veiled, but explicit claim to deity.
• Jesus extended the meaning of “temple” from the building of God to His own body, the living dwelling of God. (21)
• Jesus’ words confirm and are affirmed in the Old Testament Scriptures. (22) (2 Tim 3:15) This prophecy helped the disciples connect the Old Testament prophecies (Isa 52:12-53:12 among others) with the events of his death and resurrection. This prophecy aided in their belief in both the Scriptures and Jesus.
• It appears that John includes this incident and prophecy to strengthen the context that Jesus is focused mainly at this time on the belief of his disciples, both at that present moment and for future confirmation.
Meaning: Jesus clears the Temple of money-changers and traders twice. This time he does not focus on the motives of those selling, but on the purpose to the Temple as the house of God. It may seem reasonable to the leaders of the Temple that people coming from long distances would need money changed and sacrifices purchased; they were willing to compromise for the sake of convenience. These things distract and clutter; by clearing the Temple, Jesus is protecting the Holy purpose of the temple.
By Jesus’ extension of the temple to His body, Jesus redefines the word “temple” to mean “where God resides.” Since the church is the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27) and each of his believers are indwelt by God, we are God’s temple (1 Cor 3:16).
1 Corinthians 12:27 (ESV) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.
1 Corinthians 3:16 (ESV) Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?
Pivot Point: Is the dwelling place of God important to us? Really? Do we defend the Holy things of God? Do we share Jesus’ zeal for His house? Do we treat our bodies, minds, and hearts as God’s dwelling place keeping it holy for God’s purposes? By what we watch on TV or the internet? By what we consume? By what we think about? By our actions? By our emotional responses? Or do we mimic the world and make compromises for the sake of convenience that may seem reasonable or no big deal? Does our clutter keep God from using us for His purpose?
Today, the people of God are too willing to follow the lead of the world and either remain silent or join in when the Holy things of God are being abused. How can the world see God when His people do not defend the holiness of God or their lives are so cluttered that they appear no different than the world?
1 Peter 2:5 (ESV) you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Are there things in our lives that need to be driven out? Ask Jesus to drive those things from our lives so that He can use us for His purpose!
Change: When we, the people of God, remember that we are God’s temple, the place where God dwells, both individually and collectively; we, in love and in response to the direction of the Holy Spirit, willingly treat ourselves and each other as Holy vessels with respect and love.
Transformation: When God’s people respect themselves and each other as God’s dwelling place, the world will follow our lead and see God in His people.