Posted: February 7, 2012 by Disciples Young Adult Commission in Bible Study, Church, Devotionals, Prayer

Katherine Blaisdell, YAC Member

Jesus Cleanses the Temple   John 2:13-22

 The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the temple he found people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and the money-changers seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves, ‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a market-place!’ His disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me.’ The Jews then said to him, ‘What sign can you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, ‘This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking of the temple of his body. After 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.

The story of Easter is one of redemption. God comes to earth, walks among creation, and when earthly life is over, the body is redeemed, risen anew. In that act, we too are redeemed.

How does that work, exactly? Think of the time you most often hear the word “redeem.” Right now you think of the churchy bit of theological jargon, but you hear the word all the time. From recycled bottles to arcade tokens, bits of stuff are redeemed all the time. They are turned over, and in return, something is received.

The story of Jesus and the money changers is about redemption in a certain way. The merchants of the temple traded currency, so that travelers could make their monetary offerings, and sold sacrificial animals and other offerings, sort of like the gift shops selling incense in cathedrals. They redeemed secular goods for sacred. The problem, though, was that it was not a one-to-one trade. They capitalized on their market monopoly to bilk worshipers of their money as they performed spiritual rites. The redemption they offered was partial at best, and Jesus was affronted, enraged, by their commerce. He demanded of them full redemption.

Jesus’ message, though, was not just for the money changers. To be redeemed, we too must turn ourselves over. It is awfully easy to put our spiritual lives at the bottom of our priority lists when things get busy, set aside like so many bags of crushed soda cans and empty beer bottles till we have a chance to deal with it. We are saved by grace; there is no question. But our day to day lives, our minutes and decisions, must be given to God if we expect anything to be done with them. Just like those bottles sitting on your porch, you cannot, as a co-creator with God, be made into something new without surrendering the old. You must do the work to be reconciled to your enemy, to yourself, to your world. You must turn yourself over to be redeemed. In the words of one of my favorite theologians, God loves you exactly as you are and too much to let you stay that way.

God of Creation, be the still small voice of encouragement, reminding me to turn over what I would have you redeem. When I forget, startle me into action with the insistence of one who would cleanse the temple and raise it again. Teach me your ways O God, and walk with me on that path as I stumble. In your name, holy in heaven and earth, Amen.


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