Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” – Matthew 21:12-13
Dare I be so bold to say it? Spring has sprung.
For most of us, spring is a time of cleaning. Oh, sure, we do our best to keep up with the day-to-day chores. But in the spring, we make an extra effort to clean the house. We set aside a day to go the extra mile. The windows get washed, the walls get scrubbed, and everyone pitches in.
At least that is what I remember growing up in southwest Arkansas. Our family observed a time-honored ritual every year, which was affectionately known as “spring cleaning.” In our house spring cleaning always came on a Saturday – we were in school the other days of the week – there was no such thing as “spring break” back then – and to work on Sunday – well, that was out of the question. Spring is the time for cleaning – a major cleaning.
In Matthew’s Gospel, it seems as though Jesus was up to a major cleaning. He is positioned to being very busy at an early age. Talk about beginning his ministry with a bang! Just 12 years old, Jesus told Mary and Joseph “I had to be in my Father’s house.”
In his Father’s house were money changers and merchants who were buying and selling. Even though it was a place reserved for worshippers, you had to hold your nose and cling tightly to your purse while passing through for worship. The temple had become an insult to God and a distraction for God’s people. In righteous indignation and in anger, Jesus drove them out, because it was cleaning time in the house of prayer of the temple.
As we think about Jesus cleansing the temple, we should also think about some other cleaning that needs to be done. We are in a season called Lent. Originally the word Lent meant “the season of spring.” But it has now become much more than that. It is a time to look inside ourselves and see if there is anything in us that needs to be changed.
Are there some areas in our lives where Jesus needs to do some spring cleaning? Perhaps you need a major spring cleaning of restoration and rededication. Think of it as a call for a spiritual spring cleaning of your very own temple.
Jesus is an expert at “temple-cleaning.” Don’t wait until your life is out of control or a complete mess. Let Jesus give your body and mind a major overhaul. Then, and only then, can we fill our temple with prayer, praise, virtue, and godliness. It’s spring cleaning time.
Dr. Marion J. Miller is the pastor of Later @ St. Luke’s, a multicultural 6 p.m. worship service at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, 100 W. 86th St. Check out her web page at www.stlukesumc.com. She may be contacted at (317) 846-3404 or email@example.com.