Fulfilling the Purpose for Which It Had Been Built
Matt. 21:12 Then Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who were selling and buying in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written,
‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’;
but you are making it a den of robbers.”
The Temple was to be a house of prayer and the business that had sprung up around it revealed a corruption on the part of God’s people. When Jesus arrived he witnessed first-hand the commercialism and nationalism which had so permeated the place that God’s temple was no longer able to fulfill the purpose for which it had been built. It was not a house of prayer but it was a distortion brought about by the unfaithfulness of God’s people over time. They were so accustomed to what it had become that they didn’t know what was wrong. Jesus, on the other hand, was stunned for he knew exactly what the Temple was to have been and his desire was for her perfection — to be a house of prayer.
The language of perfection is found here when we recognize that Jesus’ frustration was that the Temple was not fulfilling the purpose for which it had been built. In Jewish understanding this has much to do with the concept of perfection. To be perfect, or brought to completion, is to fulfill the purpose for which you have been created. The Temple was created to be a house of prayer, a place where God’s people come be in communion with him. The distraction of the buyers and sellers meant that the true function of the Temple could not occur.
Jesus preached that you and I were to “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) When God is in us and working through us we are then led toward that perfection in our lives. We are to fulfill the purpose for which we have been created and when that happens, then we are perfect.
Just as there were distractions in the temple courts, so there may be distractions in our own lives. The changes may have occurred in such a subtle way that we didn’t notice but along the way we stopped fulfilling the purpose for which we were created. Jesus’ action was a wake-up call, a reminder to get back to what’s most important. Listen, spend time in prayer, and follow Jesus in the direction he is leading so that we, too, may fulfill the purpose for which we have been created. This is God's desire for us to be his perfected people and church.
Lord, please help me, by the power of your Holy Spirit, fulfill the purpose for which I have been created. Amen.
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