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  • Writer's pictureDebbie Salter Goodwin

When Jesus Turned the Tables

No one was prepared for what Jesus did when he walked into the Temple and turned over the business tables. What was it that disturbed him so profoundly? Did he see entrepreneurs trying to capitalize on religious need? Did he see selfish greed masked as ministry?

This was the outer court of the Temple where Gentiles and Jews could intermingle. Think farmer’s market not ministry fair. Hear the cacophony of vendors hawking their merchandise or “cheap” money exchanges. See smiles pasted on dishonest faces.

Something was wrong, very wrong and Jesus would have nothing of it. Jesus told these hawkers to stop peddling religion. He wanted every square inch to be a place where God connected with his people easily, freely, intimately in life-changing ways.

We can take this story and apply it to our churches, but I fear that’s the easy way out. Most of us talk more about what should be done rather than try Jesus’ table-turning strategy.

But what if we take this scene and apply it personally? After all, we are the temple of God, the place where God dwells in us through His Holy Spirit.

For we are the temple of the living God.

2 Corinthians 6:16

Our "temples" need spring cleaning!

We have so many voices stored there. The danger is that we listen to the loudest voices without vetting them through scripture. They feel so authoritative. Often they connect with what we want to believe. Or they spread the lies we think we are destined to believe, especially about ourselves, our past, and even our future.

Jesus desires a clean temple, a cleared space. He will do the cleaning, but we must make sure we don’t bring anything back.

I’m in a cleaning process. Out of a desire to hone my writing skills and publishing savvy, I have opted in to more emails than I could ever read. When it came time to decide what to fast, I knew I had to fast the emails that push and rob me of hearing God’s voice.

There’s something rising in me. I think it’s hunger. I am tired of letting noisy voices rent space in my temple. I am tired of that sometimes it is my noisy voice inside my head that is the loudest. So I’m cleaning house. The result is a less crowded mind and heart so that I can hear the whispers and feel the nudges.

What is it for you? What keeps your temple from being a place of prayer where you can hear God’s whisper? What keeps your temple crowded with voices or pointing fingers or wounded memories? Will you reduce TV or email or leave negative social media groups?

Or will you ask for help to clean out the voices that hold you hostage?

Jesus didn’t leave the temple angry that day; he left broken-hearted. Nothing hurts Jesus' heart more than misuse of any place God wants as His full possession.

That’s why we take our hearts to Jesus.


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