When you were a kid, did you ever sneak something dangerous into your room, like matches and firecrackers? If a parent found out, did they ransack your room to find the off-limits contraband? When parents and guardians take dangerous things away from children, it’s not out of cruelty, but out of love and care; they can and should remove anything from the room that could be potentially harmful to that child – even if the kid doesn’t understand the potential threat.
In John 2:13-16, we read a very interesting story about Jesus cleaning up the temple: “In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and the cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” (John 2:13-16) These merchants were treating God’s house like just another business, acting as if God’s favor could be purchased, misleading many people. Back in Isaiah 55:1, God declared that His gifts are available for free, so Jesus got a homemade whip and set things straight.
According to 1 Corinthians 6:10, since Jesus died and sent the Holy Spirit to live within us, our body is the new temple. God dwells within us, turning the room within our heart into His temple. Sometimes, like a good parent, Jesus will see things in our room (God’s temple) that shouldn’t be there, dangerous things that are blocking our path to God – and he removes them, even if we can’t see the risk. Sometimes he removes a situation, like a job or an opportunity; other times, he may take away a relationship; he may even allow us to become sick or injured – all to clear our path to God, to purify our temple.
The merchants who had their businesses destroyed that day proves the work of Jesus in our hearts can be intense and life re-arranging. If Jesus has recently removed something from your life, or is strongly urging you to do so, please understand Psalm 84:11, which tells us, “The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” We must trust that Jesus understands what’s best for us and let him decide what stays in our temple and what goes.