I was about 12 years old. Phyllis had been my best friend for one week each year at camp. This was the only time we saw each other and we were pretty much inseparable.
Phyllis threw a pack of peppermint lifesavers on her cot and ran to the restroom. I had just enough money in my camp account to get one candy bar and one soda each day during canteen time. No room for extras like a pack of lifesavers and Phyllis had not offered me one of hers.
I’ll take just one, I thought.
She won’t notice! And the deed was done before she got back.
The deed was done but it was definitely not over. Guilt set in and I, being tormented by what I had done, confessed to our cabin counselor after evening chapel.
The next day I purchased a pack of peppermint lifesavers, gave it to Phyllis, told her what I had done, and asked her to forgive me. From inner turmoil to sweet peace!
This was the response Zacchaeus had in Luke 19 when Jesus entered his home. If I have taken anything by false accusation, I restore him fourfold, He proclaimed. This is the power of the Gospel. (Romans 1:16, Colossians 1:5-6)
The religious leaders had accused Jesus of being a guest of a man that is a sinner. No doubt they were right. Through deceptive means and falsifying reports Zacchaeus had cheated many. But these are the same leaders Jesus finds endorsing the same actions for which they had condemned Zacchaeus and using the temple, aka house of prayer, to do it!
Is it any wonder Jesus wept when He entered Jerusalem knowing what would be required of this city for the false, destructive ways of its leaders? (vs, 41-44)
No one quite hates the truth like Satan and those who live a lie.
“None are so blind as those who will not see.” Matthew Henry
Deception begins in the heart and has a way of blinding one to the truth. Even the truth that is right in front of us. It is no doubt the temple was a reflection of the heart of those who kept it. Those who ultimately sought to destroy Jesus.
“But the chief priests and the scribes and the chief of the people sought to destroy him,” Luke 19:47
If a temple were erected to reflect my heart, would it be a house of sweet communion, worship and praise? Would it bring glory to God or would it reveal that blindness, corruption and hate dwell there?
Jesus had entered Zacchaeus’ home and made a difference. His final week in Jerusalem He enters the temple daily making a difference in the lives of those who were very attentive to hear Him. Those who hung on every word He spoke.
The religious leaders who sought to destroy Jesus were unwilling to lose control of their temple and turn it over to Jesus. They had defiled the temple, filled it with corruption, and sought to destroy the truth.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. I Corinthians 3:16-17
Like the temple had a holy purpose, so do each of us who have received Christ. Only Jesus can make the difference that makes our temple useful. When we hang on every Word of God and allow Him to rule in our hearts, He does. It starts with losing. Losing our temple to Jesus!
Loser Bible Study Series Theme Verse:
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it.” Mark 8:35
“Lose” from the Greek word “Apollymi” means “to destroy fully.” It is translated destroy in Luke 19:47, our verse for today.