One often stands in awe and wonder at the ways in which God chooses to share His wisdom. If you are anything like me, you often wonder why God chose to put specific things in the Bible. One such instance seems to be pretty straightforward:
Joh 2:13 The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
Joh 2:14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there.
Joh 2:15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables.
Joh 2:16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”
Joh 2:17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”
Joh 2:18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
Joh 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
Joh 2:20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
Joh 2:21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
Joh 2:22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.
Now, at face value this seems to be pretty easy. The temple of God is a holy place, and we should not insult God by treating it as a shopping mall. And that works quite well until we get to verse 18. At that point we realize we are not dealing with the building of mud, but with the body that God gave humans, including Jesus. And that the corruption of the temple was not a desicration of the building, but a moral corruption of leading people astray in a place where they should instead have been sanctified.
The purpose of the temple was to provide a place where the people of God could go to meet the priests, the appointed representatives of God, to offer sacrifices for the forgiveness of sins. By turning it into a “place of trade”, the traders and learned Jews had subverted its purpose, and turned it into something it was not supposed to be. This angered Jesus to the extent that He confronted them, and chased them out. He overturned their tables, He whipped them and then justified His actions to the learned Jews.
They misunderstood Him when He jusitifed it by referring to His own bodily death and resurrection as the miracle that would demonstrate His right to free the temple from corruption.
This is all good so far, but why on earth would God put this in the Bible. Surely there are enough references to how holy a place of worship is supposed to be?
It makes a lot more sense when we read this:
1Co 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 1Co 6:20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Our bodies are similar to that mud and wood temple, it is a holy place where the Spirit of God dwells. God bought that temple with His blood sacrifice on the cross. It is a place where God is to be worshipped and where God lives. Just like the traders dishonored the temple, so we dishonor God with all sorts of corruptions in our bodily temples. Jesus, through the destruction of His body, His temple, broke down the old, dishonorable temple and with His resurrection, also built a new temple in us.
It is a place where God lives. It is the place in which we have community with God. He has given us a new Holiest of Holy’s, a new heart. He has given us the ability to co-habitate this body with Him. Allowing perversions, corruptions and temptations into this body is to anger Jesus. It is to awaken His zeal for His Fathers house.
Jesus bought your body with His blood. He raised up a temple where-in both God and you dwell. Do you allow the money-changers and traders to use your body for something else? Do you allow that which is contrary to the purpose of the temple to dwell in you?
Take up the whip with Jesus, and chase out those things. Your action is powered by the death and resurrection of Jesus. Treat your body like the temple it is.