Passover is coming. Time to clean out the closets. Scrub the walls. Mop the kitchen floor. Wipe out all the cabinets and drawers. Scour every utensil.
Why? Because the Law says no yeast shall be found in the house. Not even a tiny particle. All leaven was expelled from the house and kept from the house for seven days. To the Hebrew/Jewish mind, fermentation meant uncleanness and corruption and was to be purged out as it was synonymous with sin.
On the night before the Passover meal, the father of the household lit a candle and led the family on a quest to inspect the house. Every corner, drawer, utensil, and niche was searched for any remaining yeast. If any trace was found, it was removed and destroyed. The house was to be immaculate.
However, one house did not remain spotless; it was the House of God.
On this particular Passover visit with the disciples, Jesus enters the temple’s outer courtyard, where the Gentiles are allowed to pray.
What a sight! People hustling about the temple, bumping into one another and tripping over a horde of wide-eyed, nervous animals.
Elbowing their way through the preoccupied crowd, Jesus and the disciples watch where they step, trying not to follow behind the animals. Sandaled feet, you know.
But what about the Gentiles? Jesus sees a few Gentiles attempting to pray amidst this chaos, yet pushed aside.
A frown digs furrows across Jesus’ brow.
Everywhere He looks, booths line the courtyard. Some booths offer sacrificial, blemish-free animals to those who could not bring one with them. Offered at a price, of course. A premium price.
Jesus is getting visibly disturbed. His facial muscles tense. His skin flushes.
The sound of clinking coins reverberates from the booths of moneychangers exchanging foreign currency for the temple shekel. The lining of their moneybags with illicit coins is their only interest. No one holds them accountable.
Jesus is appalled. His temples throb. His fists clench. He can feel the anger simmering.
The bellowing of the animals, the hawking of the merchants, and the coin-clinking of the moneychangers echo louder in Jesus’ ears.
His jaw constricts. The veins on His neck protrude. His heart pumps harder. Anger bubbles up and quickly erupts…
“This is My Father’s house of prayer!” He yells.
Incensed that the merchants are robbing His Father’s house of its meaning, Jesus knots together a scourge of rushes. Whirling the whip, He snaps away at the swindlers. They scatter as leaves before the whirlwind of a mad man.
He overturns the money tables. Coins scatter in every direction, rolling across the marble floor. Yelping animals bolt.
“Loose these doves!” He orders. “How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!” (John 2:16 NIV)
After running every human and animal out of the temple, “He would not allow anyone to carry wares through the temple.” (Mark 11:16 NKJV) Then, He said, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” (Mark 11:17 NLT)
He cleaned House, purged it of all the corruption profaning it.
How do we treat God’s House within us?
Do we clean out the closets, mop the floor, and scrub the walls of every little particle of sin from our heart’s home of prayer? Paul said, “Don’t you know how a little yeast can permeate the whole lump? Clear out every bit of the old yeast that you may be new unleavened bread!” (1 Cor. 5:6b-7a Phillips)
Or do we allow unholy merchants to set up tempting wares and tramp their grimy sandals through the courtyards of our hearts, thereby robbing God’s House of its purity and pushing aside our prayers?
Do we have enough holy passion burning within us to crack that whip at them to run them out?
Do we ask God to cleanse us of muck, scatter the coins of greed, overturn the tables of dirty dealings, drive out the hawkers, and release the dove of the Spirit into our lives?
“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting Him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water.” (Heb. 10:22 NLT)
Does your heart’s temple need Passover cleaning?
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