Delivered By
Pastor Ed Dinkins
Delivered On
July 20, 2014
Central Passage
Matthew 21:12-16
Subject
Third Sunday Service
Description

Matthew 21 Devotional & Commentary – Cleansing of the Temple  (A devotional by Susanna Lee)

Data Source:  http://koinoniatexas.org/2009/10/matthew-21-devotional-commentary-%E2%80%93-cleansing-of-the-temple/

"What is so offensive and tragic about what was happening in the temple?  The temple was to be a place of worship and prayer where God is acknowledged and honored.  It should have been a place where people come to meet God, a place where they confess their sins in prayer and receive cleansing for their sins.  Yet, the temple was turned into a market, a place for personal gain.  What is so offensive and tragic is that the temple became just like any place in the world where transactions are made for personal profit even at the expense of robbing someone.  In this passage, God is robbed of His rightful position to be worshiped, and the people are robbed of the priceless opportunity to come and worship God and get right before God.  The temple lost its purpose for existence.  And if the temple loses its purpose, its calling, there is nothing else in this world that can replace it.  Thus, the very provision that God made for sinners to get right with God is violated.

How does Jesus’ healing of the blind and lame contrast with what was happening in the temple? We need to pause here a little bit and savor what is going on.  “The blind and the lame” came to Jesus at the temple, and Jesus healed them!  Clearly God is at work.  Yet, Jesus is performing this miracle in the midst of chaos and most awful corruption.

Consider the fact that what Jesus found fundamentally offensive, the temple authorities found perfectly okay.  Who has the authority to establish the definition of what is appropriate in my life? It is quite mind-boggling how the temple authorities found the turning of the temple into a marketplace, a place of robbery, perfectly okay or acceptable while being indignant at Jesus for healing the blind and the lame.  Such discrepancy took place because these temple authorities adhered to their standards and practices as the final authority to establish the definition of what is appropriate or not.  They had failed to realize how much they had digressed from God’s purpose for a temple.  It degenerated to the point that there was no difference between God’s temple and a world’s marketplace.

In what ways can the church today turn into a marketplace? The church today can turn into a marketplace when seeking a relationship with God is usurped by seeking of personal profit.  The seeking of personal profit  comes in all shapes and forms, sometimes  subtly and sometimes blatantly:

o   A place to find my future spouse

o   A place to get friends to alleviate loneliness.

o   A place to network for business/career opportunities

o   A place for my social needs to be met

o   A place for my family to be serviced–a place where my kids are properly taken care of and my marriage will be taken care of

o   A place to be a “somebody”; we can give up the arena from the world but replace the worldly arena in the church arena, in the spiritual arena.

o   A place to climb up the ranks to get people’s respect and approval; our worldly ambition can be disguised under spiritual ambition.

How God’s heart must ache to see confessing Christians turn His house of prayers into a den of robbers by turning away from the original design and intent of the temple and demanding our wants to be serviced.  If the church becomes a place where people’s wants and demands are serviced, we lose our calling to reach the lost. And if believers treat other believers with the worldly standard of “I’ll give you that only if you give this in return,” then we become no different than a marketplace where transactions are done for the purpose of personal profit.  God’s calling for each believer as a temple of God is demonstrated in the life of Jesus in 1 Peter 2:21, 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”  Each believer is called to live a life of suffering for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of others getting right with God without demanding, “What’s in it for me?”  As soon as I seek “What’s in it for me,” I’m on the pathway of turning God’s church into a marketplace."

 

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