Jesus had just cleared the Temple area of the money-changers and merchants. The crowd then started bringing Him all their sick…and He healed them all it says. To add to this building excitement, the children were running among the people shouting praises to God! But when the Pharisees and the Sadducees entered the Temple area, they didn’t see the amazing miracles, or hear the beautiful worship… they instead took offense. Rather than rejoicing in the goodness of God, they in selfish indignation chose to be insulted and offended by what they saw and heard. We need to be wary of taking the bait of Satan, which is taking offense…especially during this current time of difficulty and fear. We can’t judge or second guess people when we don’t know all that’s going on in their life right now. We also can’t allow selfish anger to well up when we think our needs aren’t being met. Now is the time to turn outside ourselves, to guard against taking offense, and to come together.
In this verse Jesus has made His way into Jerusalem that Palm Sunday only to look upon the Temple area in disgust. It tells us in verse 15 that the next day Jesus entered the Temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling, not only quoting Isaiah 56:7, “My house will be called a house of prayer.” but also Jeremiah 7:11, “Has this house, which bears My Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the Lord.” So today, I’m going to ask you to examine your own Temple. For our body is a Temple of the living God. (I Corinthians 3:16 & 6:19, II Corinthians 6:16) and it’s very easy to allow things into our Temple that shouldn’t be there…especially during this uncertain and difficult time with the COVID19 virus. So I just want you to ask yourself – “Have I permitted negative emotions such as fear, worry, and doubt to now take up space in my Temple…Have I allowed frustration, irritation, and exasperation to take over my house of prayer?” Today’s the day to clear the Temple.
In the Bible it’s called the Triumphal Entry…today, we call it Palm Sunday, but it was anything like a great king making a grand entrance into the city of Jerusalem. The writer of this gospel, Luke, was a physician, and as one who by profession had sympathy towards the whole of humanity, he wrote in a style that showcased the compassion and kindness of Jesus. For Luke writes in Chapter 13: 34-35 of Jesus lamenting over the stubbornness and unwillingness of the Jewish people to acknowledge Him as their long-awaited Messiah. So as Jesus came into view of the city that Palm Sunday, He started to weep, grieving deeply over the self-imposed destruction of His people. (Isaiah 22:4)
Jesus stands at the entrance to your heart today. He has been patiently waiting…knocking softly but persistently every time panic has overwhelmed you this past few weeks. His voice is calm and reassuring on the other side of that door…like a light shining forth filled with truth, hope and love. But the decision must be yours and yours alone, for the door has only one latch and it’s on your side of the door. But if you do decide to open that door today, rest assured that all you’ll need to do is crack the door…for then, all of heaven will pull it open.
Where do you stand with the question posed in this verse? Is anything too hard for God? Maybe you look around today, listening to all the dire statistics and warnings about the COVID 19 Virus and think to yourself, “This is beyond God’s capabilities to change anything.” And you’d be in good company, for initially when Abraham and Sarah were told they would conceive a baby together…they both laughed in disbelief. But then it tells us in Romans 4: 18-19, “Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed…without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and that Sarah’s womb was also dead.” It goes on to say, “Yet he did not waiver through unbelief regarding the promise of God…being fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.” So again I ask you this question, “Is there anything too difficult for God?” Keep the faith and be like Jeremiah when he proclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for You.”
For many of us, we have been enduring the hardships of social distancing and mandatory self-isolation for several weeks now. We are struggling against loneliness, persevering against boredom, and attempting to quell the growing frustration inside. The verses today talk about discipline, suffering, and correction the Lord ordains for the moral and spiritual nurturing of His children, and that it is always designed for their good. So how then can we look at this unique time in our lives in a favorable light not a negative one? It can start by simply asking God, “What do You want to teach me during this time, and how can I most benefit from it?” The other thing to remember is – don’t despise the Lord’s discipline and don’t resent His correction, (Proverbs 3:11-12) and you will come out on the other side of this as a more positive, hopeful, and encouraged person.
In a matter of minutes Job lost everything…his livelihood, all his future income, and all ten of his children. And you may find yourself in the same place today as you survey your mounting losses. Although Job lost all his material and personal things, there was one thing he never lost, and that was his faith in God. For this verse tells of his acknowledgement of God’s sovereignty, goodness, grace and mercy. And as James 1:17 also reminds us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above…” Job lost everything…but he never lost what really mattered…his faith.