JESUS marched into the High Temple, stood in our place, defeated our Enemy, and purchased our freedom!
Read Hebrews 9:12
Jesus walked into the temple. It was a place he had been many times before. As a child, he was found by his parents, sitting at the feet of the Rabbis. It was a place Jesus often found comfort and communion with his Father. However, the corruption in the temple had reached an ultimate high – so much so Jesus referred it as a “den of robbers.” When he entered the temple this time, he did so with a different mission. Instead of coming into the temple to pray or learn, he came to cleanse it! In leading up to his crucifixion, Jesus was redeeming the sacred space that had been designed for people to worship God. He was taking back ground what had been stolen by the Enemy – he was confronting coercion and bringing freedom.
This temple scene foreshadowed the redemption he would purchase on the cross. The week before his death he cleared the temple, but on the cross he would clear away the guilt of humanity. When Jesus cleanses the earthly temple, he braids a whip a forcefully removes the wrong (Matthew 21:12). When he enters the heavenly temple to cleanse our sin, he does so by the shedding of his own blood. Hebrews 9:12 clearly states, “ entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” The cleansing Jesus provides through his blood is not temporary – it’s eternal and complete. The sin that had once separated humanity from God is now forever destroyed and completely eliminated.
In both stories – the temple and the cross – Jesus is performing a cleansing act. In the temple, he is confronting systemic evil and manipulation, and on the cross he’s addressing the deeper issue that stands behind every evil and injustice – sin. In the temple cleaning, Jesus defeats the powers robbing people of their money. On the cross, Jesus defeats the Enemy who came to “steal, kill, and destroy” (John 10:10). Both cleanings position people to receive the life from God he intends for them to live in. It can be hard to trust that we’ve been completely cleansed, but that’s what Jesus sacrifice on this Good Friday accomplished. By his death and resurrection, he marched into the High Temple, stood in our place, defeated our Enemy, and purchased our freedom!
Reflection and Response
Jesus cleansed the temple because guilt needed to be wiped away. Jesus went to the cross because sin needed to be atoned for. As you look at your life, what guilt do you need cleansed? What sin do you need to turn from? Use this space to confess your sin before God.
By Ryan Paulson