Then he entered the temple and began to drive out those who were selling things there and he said, “It is written,
‘My house shall be a house of prayer’;
but you have made it a den of robbers.”
Every day he was teaching in the temple. The chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders of the people kept looking for a way to kill him; but they did not find anything they could do, for all the people were spellbound by what they heard.
The gospel of Luke places this story at the beginning of Holy Week, seemingly within minutes of the triumphal entry we call Palm Sunday. Jesus, the text tells us, has wept over Jerusalem and the inability of the people to see God in their midst, to take hold of the peace that is being offered to them.
The scene in the temple that day is one of activity, business and busyness. Transactions are taking place that are deemed necessary by Jewish religious practice, complicated by Roman occupation.
But Jesus’s longing is for peace, for a house of prayer. And so he takes action. Not only does he speak against the chaos and distraction of these practices, but he “began to drive out” those who were selling things there.
Take a few moments today to sit with this text. Think of your own body and spirit as a “temple” of God.
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16)
What is keeping your body and soul from the peace God offers? What occupies your thoughts and your actions that keeps you from knowing the peace that comes from being a place of prayerfulness? It may even be things that are “religiously acceptable” to others, but have become a place of distraction and anxiety for you. Are you willing to allow the loving God we know in Christ to come in and begin to drive out these things and replace them with that mysterious peace that only Jesus can bring?