Ears to Hear: Reflections on Holy Week, Monday
On Monday of Holy Week, Jesus walked into the temple and began to clear out all the people who were selling their products and exchanging money for the pilgrims at Passover. Jesus quotes from Isaiah: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” Jesus is claiming several things as he takes this action and links it to the prophet Isaiah’s words. First, the temple belongs to God. Second, its purpose is to be a place of prayer and devotion to God. Other things had become dominant in the way that temple was being used. Primarily, it was a money making machine. Third, it is for all nations. The area in which the buying and selling was occurring was in an area called the Court of the Gentiles. It was a place where seekers of God could come and seek Him, but the money making operations were precluding this purpose.
What Jesus did in the temple has significant implications for the lives of Jesus’ followers, especially when we understand that our lives are a temple of the Holy Spirit. (read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20). First, we belong to Him. Our lives are His: “You are not your own, for you were bought with a price.” Second, our lives are designed to function as a temple – a place where God dwells in relationship. Third, our lives should have space for sharing this relational God with others!
Questions for reflection:
- How do you view your life? For the religious leaders of first century Israel, they saw the temple (and by extension, their lives) in a very consumeristic way. It was a commodity that could be monetized. Do you see your life that way? Is the value of your life determined by its usefulness in a consumer society? Or, is the value of your life set by the fact that you are a dwelling place of God? Robbers (to reference Isaiah) are people who take something not belonging to them and then they use it for whatever they want. Do you allow yourself to be robbed of your intrinsic value by running after all kinds of things (what you do, what you have, what others think of you) to give you worth and value?
- Have you created space in your life for God (“a house of prayer) and for sharing with others (“for all nations”)? Perhaps there are things in the outer courts of your life that you’ve allowed to become predominant to such an extent that the holiest part of who you are is not the focus.
In Philippians 2:5-8, we are encouraged to follow Jesus’ example: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus did not consider His equality with God (i.e., the very essence of who He is) as something to be grasped (i.e., used to his own advantage). However, He poured Himself out by giving Himself to others.
How does this inform the way you view your life and live your life? Spend a few minutes talking to God about where you are and where you want to be. Ask him if there are things in the outer courts of your life that He would like to clear away. Trust Him by placing those things in His hands.