Tuesday in Holy Week: setting things in order

On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said,“Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

When evening came, Jesus and his disciples went out of the city.

Mark 11:15-19

If there’s one thing I need everyday whether I realize it or not, it’s the setting of my life in order. Through Jesus by repentance and faith and by the Spirit I am the one that gets to do that, but in another sense, behind that, it is the Lord who really sets things in order.

This was true on the scale of Israel. Jesus came as King, but not at all in the way anticipated. He himself in his body was to be the fulfillment of the temple, the locus of the new temple of the new covenant.

Traditionally this has been called “the cleansing of the temple.” Many of us see this as the time when Jesus put God’s house in order, but also perhaps as a time suggesting beforehand that the judgment on the temple to come was imminent. We remember that at his death on the cross the veil of the temple, in front of the Most Holy Place was torn in two from top to bottom. That signified that the way into the Most Holy Place, into the very presence of God had been opened to all through the Great High Priest, Jesus. Years later in 70 AD the Romans destroyed the temple. And it has never been rebuilt since.

I need what only the Lord can give, to help me clean up the messes of my life that come along, to get me back on track and keep me in God’s will. Jesus was setting things in order before his death. This was something near and dear to him, something he could not simply dismiss, but of top priority. Indeed central to the gospel, the good news that would follow.

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