Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Removing The Tarnish

                                                    Benzara 16052 Set Of 4 Brass Sterling Silver Plated Tea Set      
      A friend gave me a silver tea set the other day.  It was in a box, unused for a long time.  Taking it out, it was dark and discolored.  When you looked at it, all you could see is grimy, inky metal.  Not very pretty.  I got my silver cleaner out.  Cleaning silver is not an easy job.  There is quite a bit of elbow grease involved in getting rid of the blackened tarnish that is covering the pieces.
     I set to work, rubbing and scrubbing the metal. The darkness began to disappear more and more, with every swipe of my hand.  What was left was a shiny, sparkling tea service.  No one would have guessed it was the same set.  It was a lot of work, but the cleaning took away the shadowy darkness, and revealed the beauty underneath.
     Jesus went on a cleaning spree once.  It was soon after He had entered Jerusalem.  He was going to the temple to pray.  What He saw disgusted Him.  Instead of a reverent, quiet place of worship, there were merchants everywhere, hawking their wares.  Sheep, cattle and birds were for sale in the courtyard.  Money changers had booths set up, exchanging Roman and Greek money for Jewish currency, keeping a tidy profit for themselves. 
     He was enraged.. In the only scriptural account recorded, Jesus lost His temper. Jesus cried out, "My House is a house of prayer,  you have turned it into a den of thieves!"   He took cords, and made a whip out of them.  He began driving the merchants and money changers out of the temple.  He turned tables over, money flying everywhere.  He yelled at the men selling doves, saying, "You will not turn My Father's House into a house of trade!"
     This was a whole new spin on the term, "Cleaning the house".  Jesus removed all of the blackened corruption that had tarnished the temple.  With every swipe of His Hand, more and more filth was cleaned away.  He purged the wickedness, but did so at a great price.
     The Jewish leaders had been keeping an eye on Jesus for awhile.  Once they saw this display of anger, however, they knew they had to do something.  Now Jesus was claiming that the temple was "His house" and "His Father's house"!  That was blasphemous!  Everyone knew that Solomon had built the temple over 1000 years beforehand...how could this Jesus be presumptuous enough to claim that it was his?  That was herecy at it's core.  He must die...before the people began to believe him.
     Have you cleaned house lately?  Not your physical home, but your 'temple'?  Have you wiped away all of the tarnish that has accumulated within?  Polished away all of the sin and corruption that has built up in your life?  Now is a good time.  But you will do so at a price, also.  Not physical death, like Jesus, perhaps.  But a death of sorts.  A death to self...and what you want to do.  Sin is simply choosing to do what we want, instead of what God wants.  We must die to self in order for the tarnish to completely go away.  It's not an easy job.  Sometimes we have to use quite a bit of elbow grease, but when we are 'cleaned up' we reflect the beauty that is within us.  The Holy Spirit of God will shine forth as bright as polished siver. 

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