Twice in the gospel story, Jesus clears out the commerce that had occupied space in the temple precinct. In the Gospel of Mark, chapter 11, verses 15-17 it tells us that in the area where all is commerce taking place, Jesus took it upon himself to clear it out and declare, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations?’ But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”
That’s enough to make us gasp. It seems so out of character for Jesus to act like this. Couldn’t he have politely asked them all to leave? We would all feel very comfortable with Jesus doing it that way, but he didn’t—why? Very simply, if all the commerce was taking up the space in the temple courts, was there any room for people to come in and pray? If you had come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and the highlight of your trip was to enter the temple to pray, what would happen if there was no room for you to get in? With tables and benches and animal stalls and noise and all sorts of other stuff happening, how could you even hear yourself think much less have an atmosphere conducive to prayer? My guess is that you would complain and you would want something done a.s.a.p. Jesus had to clear it out so people seeking God could find space and experience the presence of God.
Okay, let’s move from the temple to your life. Have you lost the “space” in your life where you experience God’s unfailing love and amazing forgiveness?
Here’s a line from the poet Jean Danielon: “I have a need of such clearance as the Savior effected in the temple of Jerusalem; a riddance of clutter of what is secondary, that blocks the way to the all-important central emptiness which is filled with the presence of God alone.”
Can you identify the clutter that is blocking your way to experiencing God and healing? Is it business, the drama in your life, or social media eating up your time? Clear the space! Make room for what is essential.