Take these things away.

While I’m traveling, I asked some friends to answer a question: What’s the story related to Jesus that is most compelling for you? Today’s post is from James May. 

Our congregation has been studying John’s gospel in Bible studies and sermons. I like Jesus cleansing the Temple.

The Passover of the Jews was at hand – a celebration of freedom from slavery. As he turned over the tables, Jesus shows his willingness to set us free from slavery. [Malachi 3:1 “… the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple” (ESV)]

I ask, “Is Jesus just cleaning his Father’s house so that God’s people can better meet with him there?”

Then I ask, “Have things slipped a bit, and we need Jesus to tweak the way we do things – just get us back on track?”

My heart, my mind, my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Jesus wants to drive away everything that doesn’t belong in the center of the place where he meets with me.

“Take these things away.” Jesus had recently turned wash water into the best wine; he is about transformation. He’s now the place where we meet with God, and everything is on the table.

It’s actually not about the money. It’s much worse. It’s anything that I honour more than Jesus. The name for that is idolatry. Jesus shows that he’s changing the way things are done. “Take these things away.”

Do I dare ask Jesus to take a peek into the temple of my life and see what I regard as holy? If I ask him, it is likely to be messy – not only what he sees, but also the process.

Jesus, the Passover Lamb of God, is the only one able to set me free.
The Jews demanded a sign. Jesus points us to the ultimate Passover: the cross.

Karen, my wife, read this and said “oh the cleansing of the temple, haven’t we done that already?”

“It needs to happen over and over,” I answered.


Jim May is from Vancouver, B.C. Canada “On work days I’m generally in my classroom teaching struggling 5-to-8-year-olds how to navigate the mysteries of the printed word, in writing, reading and English language acquisition. ‘Spare time’ finds me cooking, cycling, Bible studying, writing, taking photos, walking with my wife and my old dog, connecting with my grown children and aging parents, repairing things, gardening.”

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