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.
The important part of this Scripture is not what is said, but rather the space of time between when the building of the Temple stopped and it was restarted. For it was 16 years that no work was done at the building site. How many people do you think looked at the Temple foundation year after year and considered all the work a loss? We will all have setbacks in life…times when our forward motion is hampered or even stopped for a season… and we don’t know why. This delay is not a time to declare defeat…for with God, any setback is only temporary in His timetable. And if we have faith and persevere, any delay will have success in the end.
The 12 year-old Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful to His parents when He asked this question. He was simply incredulous that they had not realized where He was destined to be. For this young Jesus had already taken on the obligation and duty of His Heavenly Father…as seen in Psalm 69:9, “…for the zeal for Your House consumes Me…”
The book of Ezra recounts the efforts of the Jewish exiles who returned from Babylon to rebuild the Temple. Sixteen years would pass between the laying of the foundation and when work would take up again. God gave them the vision for the Temple…it was started…but then suspended. Just like the exiles, we too hear from God and plunge forward only to be sometimes detained. Sadly, it’s usually at that stoppage we throw in the towel and claim failure. But just because there’s a delay doesn’t mean it’s a defeat. The Lord never goes back on His promises, and any vision He’s given you…even if it’s been years…is still viable in His eyes. Remember, a delay doesn’t mean a defeat.
This verse is part of Solomon’s prayer of dedication for the new Temple in Jerusalem. He doubted that this building could in any way hold the Spirit of the Lord…since God can’t be limited to time/space dimensions. But the Holy Spirit can dwell within the Believer, for in I Corinthians 6:19 it reads, “Your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit.” What a Temple built of stone couldn’t start to hold, can be wonderfully contained within our fleshly Temple.