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Saturday, March 3, 2018

Lent 3rd Sunday - Cleansing our temple

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"God loves us right where we are.  But he loves us too much to let us stay there."

Some say this was perhaps the main cause of Jesus’ crucifixion.
The temple was cherished.  The whole reason people pray today at the "wailing wall" or Western Wall is because it was the edge of the temple as we know it.
This was the time of Passover - everyone was there to offer lambs for sacrifice, not to mention any other offerings for newborns, marriages, etc.  What Jesus did would have caused huge disruption to Jerusalem.  Although some loved it, others would have been appalled.   It would have united and solidified many of His enemies if they weren’t already set against Him.
Why did Jesus make such a risky move?
Because the temple was important.  And he noticed that it wasn't being used properly.  It needed some work - not the stones and wood and incense, but the people inside it.  After he drove them out and refocused things, the temple was what it was meant to be again: a house of prayer.

"Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up."
...But he was speaking of the temple of his body.

Saint Paul: "Do you not know that your body is a temple, with the spirit of God dwelling within you?"
For the Jews, by the way, remember that the body was not just the body - it was the person.  Your body represents your life - your soul - your mind - everything.
Jesus doesn't just want to take care of the temple, but the people within it.  So if your body is a temple, you better believe that Jesus wants to do some work in there.  When things are way out of shape, it feels like violence to get them back in order.  It isn't pretty or easy, but that is not a bad thing.  The only bad thing is that things are far from the way they should be, like Jesus discovered in the temple today.  Ultimately this is tough love, and it's a good thing.
So Jesus wants into your temple, your life.  He will probably find some things that need some work.  He might have to act a little violently.  This is tough, but it's love.  And afterwards, it's worth it.

The Ten Commandments - the Law of God - the Ten Words of God - Jesus Christ.  Sometimes they feel harsh as well.  As we hear them today, let us allow them to enter our hearts and do some tough love.  To drive out any sin that is found there.  To allow our spiritual temples to be what they are meant to be about - prayer and worship of the One who created us and loves us.

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