John 2:12-25

John - House of Prayer

John 2:17
'And his disciples remembered that it is written: Zeal for your house will consume me.'
We're in the story of Jesus cleansing the temple, it's a classic scene in old Christian paintings, full of emotions - we see Jesus as we rarely do; angry. He is entering the temple at the time of Passover and seeing the temple court filled with people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. And he makes a whip out of cords and drives them all from the temple courts, clearing out anything he doesn't want there, demanding; “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!”

Jesus is entering the temple courts, an area called the courts of the gentiles. And he is angry when he sees what the Jewish leaders have allowed, or maybe even have encouraged to happen there. And what does he do? He rips out all the stuff that was never meant to be there and in that way he restores the temple court to its original purpose; a house of prayer for all nations (see Mark 11:17).

It strikes me that Jesus says; Stop turning my Father’s house into a market.- when the trade was happening in the temple courts, an area I believe the Jewish leaders hardly considered a part of the actual temple. I doubt very much that they would ever have allowed this practice to happen further into the temple, in the area where they would go to pray. No, this practice happened in the outer court, the court where the gentiles could come, the none-Jews, and where anyone considered unclean could come. That was hardly a part of the temple, was it?? But Jesus made it very clear that it was; Stop turning my father's house into a market!

When the Jewish leaders saw what Jesus did, they asked for a sign of his authority; how did he have the authority to do this? To this Jesus answers; tear down this temple, and I will rebuild it in three days. Understandably enough, they didn't understand what he talked about - we know he talked about his body being the temple. But, Jesus is not physically here on earth any longer is he? No, he is seated in Heaven. So what is then now the temple of God on earth?

Listen to these mind blowing words from 1 Corinthians 6.19-20: 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.

What is now the temple? It is us, every one of us that believes in Jesus. We together are the body of Christ, we are the temple of God - the place where His Spirit dwells, the house of prayer for all nations.

But did you hear what Paul says here; your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. There is only one Spirit - the same Spirit in each of us. And together we are the body of Christ on earth. We are the temple. But at the same time, we carry that responsibility and honour individually too.

The Holy Spirit dwells in each and everyone who has received Jesus as Lord and Saviour, who has been born again - and if that is you, then you are a temple of the Sprit of God. And that is wonderful in so many ways, and there is so much we could talk about here - but going into application I want to stick to the image of the temple court.

Apply

The Jews had made the temple court, the place where the gentiles could come, into a place where it was impossible for people to meet with God. So the question becomes:

  1. What is the temple courts in your life? What are the areas where you interact with none-believers? Is it easy for them to see God in you or is there stuff in those areas of your life that Jesus has to clear away for them to be able to see Him?

  2. How much attention do you give to the temple courts of your life? Do you pay extra attention to the areas of your life that are more obvious 'Christian'; your life in church, among your Christian community? Or do you see the whole of you as the temple - just as Jesus when he entered the temple courts.

  3. Take a moment of silence. Imagine the temple courts of your life and invite Jesus in to do a deep clean, to restore the temple court to its original purpose.

    I believe God has placed you and me, exactly where he has us, as his temple, for the none-believers that are there to be able to learn about God through our lives so that they might seek Him and find Him.

Prayer

Dear Jesus,

Thank you that you live in me by your Spirit. And I recognise that this means I am therefore a walking temple on earth, a place where people are meant to be able to meet with you.

I pray that you will forgive me for the things in my life standing in the way of people seeing you through me. Jesus I pray that you will do a deep clean, show me areas I might not be aware of, areas you want to change. And in this moment Jesus I surrender to you, I say that you do have the authority to clear away anything that doesn't honour you, anything that might distract people from seeing you.

I pray that your Spirit will have clear room to move and that I can be a place, a temple, where people will seek, find and know you God.

Amen.
This Everyday Devotions was written by Elisabeth Radtke, who is a Deacon at our Croydon Plant.

Elisabeth unpacks these themes in more detail in her sermon message this week on our website, YouTube Channel and at our Online Church Services.

This Everyday Devotions has also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube Channel.

Follow our Everyday Devotions Playlist for some songs to help you worship God in Spirit and truth this week.