Holiness of God – Matthew 21:12-13

Do Not Profane What Is Holy

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.'”

Righteous Rebuke

Jesus was not a wimp.  He was gentle and humble of heart.  But when He saw that His Father’s temple courtyard was being used in a manner that was disrespectful and counter to its intended purpose – to provide a space where the people could come to worship His Father, He reacted.  He overturned the money tables and benches of people who changed a place of worship into a place of profit.

To be clear, it is not that Jesus was against people making a profit with their labor.  It was the use of something holy in a profane way that was so egregious to Him.  They had taken a place that was meant for worship and defiled it by selling their wares.  God was to be glorified in this place, and yet the sellers of merchandise dared to use what was dedicated to God to line their own pockets.  God is genuinely jealous of what is His.  He will not allow us to prostitute ourselves to sin when we have been dedicated to His purpose.

Practice Prayer

Jesus had informed the ones who had defiled His Father’s house that they had maligned what God had declared was holy – set apart to him and set apart from the world.  The merchants did not care that the temple was to be used for prayer – for holy communication between man and God.  They only saw the opportunity to make some money providing the service of the easy availability of sacrificial animals to those who would come and worship.

We would do well to remember that we are now the temple of God.  And we are not just the temple courtyard; our bodies are the naos of God – the holy of holies.  God has declared us to be holy through the righteousness of Christ.  It behooves us to use our bodies in a manner that befits its station and purpose.  Otherwise, we will be responsible for defiling what God has made holy.

Design Destroyed

Not only were the merchants impeding the worship of God by their very presence with their wares, they were taking what was holy and making it worldly through their practices.  They had no regard for the things of God nor His holiness.  In making the temple courts their marketplace, they turned what was to be honoring God into profit.  Not only that, they would often have dishonest scales, robbing the people, and charging prices that were absurd for goods.  Rather than even offer their merchandise at a fair price, they sold their items at great cost.  The cost of convenience was steep.

We should be wary of those who seek to profit by using what God has declared as holy to line their own pockets.  And while the workman is worthy of his wages, it is not right to peddle the word of God for the purpose of profit.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I using my body as a temple of God or for some other purpose?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, You delight in Your children, and greatly desire for us to seek You in prayer.  Help me to separate myself from the world, and draw close to You.  Keep me from the desires that would use my body in such a way that it would profane Your name.  Guard me against the desires of the world, the flesh, and the devil, that I would reflect Your glory for all to behold.  Watch over me this day, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

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