Following Jesus Through Holy Week
For the past 21 days, we've been reflecting together on God's sovereignty, provision, and glory. For the next seven, we'll follow Jesus through Holy Week. Each day we'll reflect on the events and conversations that led up to His arrest, crucifixion, and resurrection. As we walk with Him through our own "holy week," we remember now more than ever that Jesus is with us every step of the way.
15 And they came to Jerusalem. And he 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. 16 And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17 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.” 18 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. 19 And when evening came they[a] went out of the city.
If Sunday was the "triumphal entry," Monday was the "shocking confrontation." The buying and selling and changing of currency at the temple were the lifeblood of commerce in Jerusalem, and Jesus literally shut it down. All Jerusalem must have paused to look at the young rabbi with eyes wide and eyebrows raised.
The merchants were exploiting the poorest pilgrims who had traveled many miles and had no choice but to buy sacrificial animals at the temple complex at exorbitant rates. When Jesus arrived, everything came to a crashing halt. Coins crashed onto the stone walkways, birds flew free from their cages, guards shouted in fruitless attempts to intervene. At the center of all the commotion was the most loving man who ever lived—chest heaving, eyes focused, heart filled with passion and justice.
Sometimes love compels you to confront something that shouldn't be.
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 that our very bodies are temples:
19 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, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
We all have things inside of us we need to confront. Before you move on, spend a little time right now talking to God about something in your own life that shouldn't be there. Use this moment—before you continue with your day—to confess your sin to Him. Remember that just like Jesus cleansed the Jewish temple at the beginning of the week, His death and resurrection at the end of the week guaranteed our cleansing (1 John 1:9). Once you've confessed your sin, thank Him for His forgiveness.
Following Jesus means listening to Him and acting on what we hear. At the end of each of our daily devotions this week we will recommend one simple and practical way we can obey Jesus in response to His voice through the Scripture. In this way, we can tangibly "follow Jesus through Holy Week" together.
On Monday, Jesus cleansed the temple in order to restore it to a place of worship. Let's do the same. At some point today you have to take out the garbage. Before you do, take a scrap piece of paper and write down the sin you confessed a moment ago. This is just between you and God, so you can use words or a symbol, if you prefer. When the garbage goes out, make sure your sin goes with it. In this simple and tangible act, you are following Jesus as He "cleanses the temple" of your heart and prepares you to worship Him this week.