A Devotion for the Monday of Holy Week

palm leaf
 
The sights and sounds of Palm Sunday must have been a moving experience for all.  For the followers of Jesus—those who looked to Him as the Savior and King of Israel—it must have been a parade of success—their anticipation about to be fulfilled.  Watching Jesus ride into the City of Jerusalem in such a triumphant manner was the culmination of years and generations of waiting.

But for others, this parade moved them in a much different way.  Filled with jealousy over Jesus’ reputation and reception.  Filled with fear that His popularity would override their authority, the Pharisees were furious.  Some of the Pharisees in the crowd asked that Jesus—no, demanded that Jesus rebuke His cheering followers.  “If they keep quiet,” replied Jesus, “even the stones will cry out.”  There was no stopping this parade of pomp and circumstance.

When Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem, He went where all good worshippers would go.  Mark tells us, “And he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple….And when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.”  So what did Jesus see when He looked around?  He saw those who were exchanging the currency of people from faraway places, who had come to make their sacrifice to the Lord.  The money changers were charging exorbitant fees, taking advantage of the faithful.  Jesus looked around and saw those selling animals for sacrifice—selling them, of course, way above normal prices, taking advantage of weary travelers who simply wanted to find peace through their sacrifice.  I guess “price gouging” is nothing new.  Something needed to be done.  But, this was not the time.  It was late.  Jesus would come back Monday morning.  And He did.

Mark explains, “On the following day…they came to Jerusalem. And (Jesus) entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons.  And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.”
 
Jesus comes to clean house.  The Temple was God’s house.  It was to be kept holy—set apart to honor the Lord, not to be used for personal gain in such sacrilegious ways. 

Jesus came to clean house, indeed.  He came to clean my house and your house.  St. Paul asked the Corinthians and us an important question:  “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, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

A quick examination of my thoughts and my words and my actions indicate that my temple needs cleaning.  I, like those sacrilegious scoundrels of the first century, so easily rob God of His glory and cheat the people around me out of the love they need.  I definitely need cleaning. 

Thank God—literally, thank God that Jesus came to clean house—my house—my mind, my soul, my body.  Your house—your mind, your soul, your body.  Thank the Lord that He took our place on the cross, paying the penalty for our uncleanliness.  Thank Him.  Worship Him, for He is faithful and just, cleansing us from all unrighteousness and restoring us to be His temple, so that all we say and do and think would worshipfully give Him the honor and glory which is rightly His.

PRAYER:  Lord Jesus, thank You for cleaning my house.  Thank You for taking away the guilt that clutters my conscience, the arrogance that obstructs the door to my mind and the obstinate attitude that covers the welcome mat to my heart.  Forgive me when I fail and lift me, again, to new life that loves You with all my heart, soul and mind, and loves those around me.  In Your name I pray.  Amen.

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