Cleansing The Temple

The scriptures tell us of several events that occurred on the Monday of the last week of the Savior’s life. One of these events was the cleansing of the temple in Jerusalem. This event is captured both in Matthew and Mark in the New Testament. Matthew tells it this way:

“And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” – Matthew 21:12-13

Mark adds the following:

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; and would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple. And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.” – Mark 11:15-17

Why is it so important that Christ went to the temple after entering Jerusalem? The temple was the symbol of the covenants that Jehovah had made with the children of Israel when He delivered them from Egypt. It also represented the law that had been given. It was appropriate for Jehovah to spend time at the temple as His mortal ministry came to a close. The temple was meant to be a place of sacred worship and covenant making between the people and their God. When Christ arrived in Jerusalem, the corrupt ministers of the religion of the day had turned this sacred place into a place of business where they made a profit from selling animals for sacrifice. This, of course, seemed justified because the animals were to be used for sacrifice as had been commanded in the Law of Moses; however, in justifying their actions, the priests and Pharisees were desecrating the very place that they were supposed to be protecting for their God. Christ demonstrated righteous indignation when he cast the money changers out of the temple with the accusation, “My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

In our lives, we are also made guardians of sacred things. Among these are our families, our relationship with God, and the scriptures. Are we treating these sacred things as carelessly and wrongly as those money changers in the temple? Would we be deserving of a reprimand for how we approach sacred things? I hope that in my life I can be one that will treat sacred things as sacred and not make light of them or remove them from their proper priority in my life. I hope that all of us can realize our duty to preserve that which is sacred.


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