Anglican Morning Devotion, 15 September 2021 Anno Domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion of Churches
“Let not them that wait on thee, O Lord God of hosts, be ashamed for my sake: let not those that seek thee be confounded for my sake, O God of Israel. 7Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face. 8I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother’s children. 9For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me. 10When I wept, and chastened my soul with fasting, that was to my reproach.” (PSALMS 69:6-10; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There are two separate accounts given in the Gospels of our Lord’s cleansing of the Temple. I have heard so many erroneously teach that both accounts related to the same event – NONSENSE! There were two separate cleansings just as God’s Word relates. There is a reason for these two separate cleansings as we shall shortly point out. But for the moment, let us focus on the first found in John 2:12-22.
As we read of this first visitation of the Lord to the Temple, we should note a few fundamental points:
1) our Lord had just recently completed forty days and nights of fasting in the Wilderness;
2) He has just performed His first miracle at a wedding at Cana of Galilee; and
3) it was the time of the Passover – a time when the Passover Lamb would be offered up in the Temple. Why are these points significant? Because the
Passover Lamb foreshadowed the Lord Jesus Christ and His own coming sacrifice. Furthermore, His honoring the Holy Estate of Matrimony with His first miracle represents the very same relationship in marriage as Christ to the Church – the Old Testament Temple stood as a model of the Bride. Having been tempted of the devil for forty days and nights, this first visit to the Temple represented the beginning of His earthly ministry. All combined to demonstrate that God’s House is to be revered and respected. The marketing of merchandise has its place, but that place is not the House of God. The House of God (Church) is not a money-making operation – “Give unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s; and unto God that which belongs to God.” Mammon and Heaven do not mix. This is a principle most modern churches have forgotten, or intentionally rejected with their ‘health and wealth’ gospels.
Though portrayed in artwork as a frail and effeminate personage, Christ was in no manner effeminate. He was a strong man accustomed to the carpenter’s trade. When a strong man is filled with anger and indignation, His physical strength is multiplied many times. “After this he went down to Capernaum, he, and his mother, and his brethren, and his disciples: and they continued there not many days. 13And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew the tables.” (JOHN 2:12-15) We should all, as Christians, take umbrage at the violation of the Holy Ground of the Church in mixing merchandise and money concerns with the place of worship. “And said unto them that sold doves, “Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.” (John 2:16) This principle could not be more clearly illustrated. Christ began His ministry by cleansing the Temple. He had grown corrupted by the feet of man and beast. Even the Passover had ceased to be called the Lord’s Passover, but the Jews’ Passover for it had been corrupted by the leaven (false doctrine) of the Pharisees and Jewish rulers.
So why did Christ cleanse the Temple a second time? “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.” (Matthew 21:12-14) Again, it was the time of the last Passover and one whose demands would be finally and eternally satisfied by the sacrifice of the Lamb of God outside the gates of Jerusalem. Though the Temple had been cleansed some three years earlier by Christ, it needed a continual cleansing. The self-reflection and repentance of the Church is never complete. It is a continual process. We no longer have a Jews’ Passover, but the true and eternal Passover of the Lord in Christ. It is only after a continual Reformation to the Word of God that the purpose of the Church can go forward and it can become again a place of healing.
Following this final cleansing at the end of His earthly ministry, can the Church become a place of healing of the body and soul of man. When Jesus had thus cleansed the Temple this last time, “And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.” (MATTHEW 21:14) Pray that the Holy Spirit of God will once more cleanse our lucre-ridden churches of today and restore all things according to the Will and Word of God.