Spring Cleaning

Theme: Jesus cleanses the temple. 3rd Sunday in Lent
Object: A mop, pail, sponges, and other cleaning supplies
Scripture: In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" John 2:14-16 (NIV)

Spring is just a few days away. Spring is such a wonderful time of the year. The temperature begins to warm and the world begins to take on a fresh new look. The trees start to put on leaves, the grass begins to turn green, and the flowers start to bloom. Everything is beautiful! There are other things that tell us that spring is here too. For one thing, baseball season begins. Another sign that spring is here is that many people have started their spring cleaning.

Look at all of this stuff I brought with me this morning. I have a mop, a pail, sponges, floor cleaner, window cleaner, paper towels, and dust cloths. It looks like I am getting ready to clean house. Do your parents do any spring cleaning around your house? Spring is a good time to give your house a good going over and clean everything up and get rid of a lot of junk that you don't need.

This morning I want to tell you about a time when Jesus did some spring cleaning. It was time for the annual Passover celebration, so Jesus traveled to Jerusalem. When he arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple. He couldn't believe his eyes. There in the temple area he saw people who were selling cattle, sheep, and doves for the people to use as sacrifices in the temple. There were tables set up for money changers so that people could change their money to pay their temple taxes. It looked more like a carnival than a house of worship.

Jesus did not like what he saw. He was so angry that he made a whip from some rope and he drove the the cattle and sheep and those who were selling them from the temple. He went to the tables of the money changers and turned them over, scattering coins all over the temple floor. To the ones who were selling the doves he said, "Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market." Yes, I would say that Jesus did some spring cleaning in the temple that day!

As we think about Jesus cleansing the temple, we should also think about some other cleaning that needs to be done. We are in a season called Lent. At first, the word Lent meant 'the season of spring'. But it has now become much more than that. It is a time to look inside ourselves and see if there is anything in us that needs to be changed. Are there some areas of your life where Jesus needs to do some 'spring cleaning'? I know there are in mine!

Dear Jesus, during this time when we think of 'spring cleaning', we ask you to forgive us when we do wrong and to make us clean. Amen.

NOTE: For those of you who are not coming into the spring season, adapt the sermon by removing references to spring and talk about cleaning in general.

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