Cleaned out

Daily Reading for March 15 • The Third Sunday in Lent

At first glance Jesus’ shocking actions in the temple hardly seem loving. Yet they reveal his inexhaustible passion for his Father, a passion and zeal that drives all his actions. The Father yearns to be with his children; he seeks our company and desires that we approach him in right ways.

Jesus knew that. He also knew the ways of the temple merchants actually hindered rather than helped people worship God. God seeks a clean, pure, authentic connection with us, an open channel of relationship. But we tend to clog that connection with human-concocted rules and regulations. We get so focused on the way we approach God that we neglect to actually do the approaching.

In this case, Jesus forcefully cleans out the garbage that chokes the channel of relationship with God. This cleansing is an act of love because its purpose is to restore the direct connection between God and God’s people.

What would Jesus find in your temple—your life, your body, your mind? Would he find something that needed to be cleaned out, overturned, and chased off before you could enjoy a connection with him?

Perhaps shame hinders you from coming to God, or irrational expectations of what should and shouldn’t happen when you fall into Jesus’ embrace. Or maybe busy habits or harmful behaviors distract you from the true way. Perhaps it’s a shattered dream or a broken heart, or a confused mind or a hectic schedule. Or it may be a simple misunderstanding of how one can approach God in faith.

Experiencing Jesus’ cleansing may be painful in the moment, but it is ultimately a loving act. Because it sets things right, it reopens the way to God by cleaning out the garbage in our soul. Jesus is zealous for you, consumed by love for you. He wants you wholly. And holy.

From Living Loved: Knowing Jesus as the Lover of Your Soul by Peter Wallace. Copyright © 2007. Used by permission of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY.

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