Perry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
I have to admit, I enjoy a good action flick when I can. Call me a typical guy, but when a tough guy (good guy of course) enters a scene and takes care of business, I just kind of enjoy that. Kind of want to be that guy if you know what I mean. Yet that is just not becoming of a Christian though…right? I was recently reading through John again and came to the second half of John 2 where Jesus clears out the temple. He shows up at the temple the first year of his ministry and notices that nothing about what he sees in the temple reflects what God called it to be, which is a house of prayer. Instead there are merchants and money changers, people taking advantage of faithful Jews traveling to the temple for Passover or other important festivals, and it makes him mad. So he just kind of takes care of business, and cleans up the place.
It is definitely not the scene we think of when we picture Jesus meek and mild. He made a whip, then proceeded to use it, while flipping tables and running people out, yelling at them to get all that stuff out of there! It’s a powerful image about Jesus’ desire to clean the junk out of his house. In fact, his disciples make a mental note about what was written about the messiah in Psalm 69:9 “Zeal for your house consumes me.” What a powerful thought. He is passionate for the temple, the house of God.
But here’s the thing that came to mind the more I read and thought about that idea. In that moment, his zeal was displayed in regard to the temple of God in Jerusalem. But Jesus stated clearly a few verses later in John 2:19 “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” The temple was the place where God resided and communed with men, but Jesus is clearly presenting himself as God and the place where God dwells. HIs body is the temple, which will be crucified and raised in three days.
Later Paul tells the church in Corinth that “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free – and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Now the body is not made up of one part but of many.” The image here is the church, the house in which God dwells. Zeal for his house…his church…consumes him.
But it gets even more intimate than that. Ephesians 3:16-17a says this, “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.” God lives in our very hearts…it is the temple of God. And when you consider your own hearts as the temple of God, then this phrase takes on a whole new meaning:
“Zeal for your house consumes me.”
God is zealous about your heart. He wants to not only live in it, but he wants to transform it, to clean it out, to make it into a house of prayer. It is the work he does through the power of his Spirit when we let him in. The thing about the temple is, in the gospels, Jesus actually cleaned it out twice. The Jews were quick to let that stuff back in because selfishly they benefited from it. Too often, we also can let selfishness drive us to allow junk back into our hearts as well. That is why we too have to daily deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow him. It allows him to do the zealous work of cleaning out our hearts.
So what have you let in that Jesus needs to drive out?