Strategic Leadership Lessons from Watching Jesus Clean House

John 2:13-19 (NKJV)

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And He found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables.

And He said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”

Then His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up.”

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

I hate cleaning my house. I really do. After all, I’m not the one who made it a mess!

(Or am I?)

Well, maybe I made a little of the mess. My five young children, however, are the main culprits and I place most of the blame on them. (Because that’s what responsible father’s do! LOL)

There are toys everywhere, dishes left on the counters and tables, scraps of homework and art and books scattered around the floor, etc. It’s just part of having a young family with kids. When it comes down to it, the Specht family is a normal family with a house that gets dirty from time to time.

It’s just part of life.

Saturday is usually the day we spend an hour or two cleaning and tidying up. There is basic cleaning maintenance that takes place throughout the week, but Saturday morning tends to be the BIG cleaning day at our house.

Saturday is the day we get out the sanitizer, the cleaning products, the vacuum, and the dust mittens. We work, we clean, we tidy, we straighten, and then we relax.

Ah… relaxation!

I hate the cleaning part, but I do love relaxing on the sofa in a clean room.

Strategic Leadership: When Jesus Cleans House

On two different occasions Jesus cleaned house. He cleaned his Father’s house. He cleaned up God’s house. He cleansed the Temple. It made everyone either nervous or anxious or angry or relieved. That’s the kind of outcome which occurs when Jesus puts strategic leadership into place!

When I clean our house, I like to get everyone involved (or, rather, my wife likes to get us all involved). For us, house cleaning is a group effort. I, my wife, and our five kids all help. We even have our six-year-old blind son clean his room. He does his share like everyone else.

But when Jesus cleaned, he cleaned alone.

He didn’t enlist the aid of his disciples. He cleaned alone.

He didn’t tell Matthew to take the south wall, Peter take the west wall, or Judas to overturn the money changers tables. He worked alone.

He cleansed the Temple all by himself.

I wonder why? Why did he cleanse the Temple by himself? Why didn’t he get his followers to help?

Wouldn’t it have gone quicker if twelve or seventy or one hundred and twenty other people all pitched in?

After all, isn’t “group effort” what good leaders want from their people?

Not in this case.

Quickness wasn’t the issue that morning in the Temple, and Jesus wasn’t concerned about dusting the money changer’s tables. This was a strategic leadership decision on Jesus’ part and everyone was to be a spectator to watch him lead—not a participant to lend a hand!

Here are 3 strategic leadership lessons to be learned from watching Jesus cleanse the Temple…all by himself.

1.  Jesus was the only Person to notice the filth.

Nobody else seemed bothered by the extortion, the excess taxation, the money changers, or the selling of merchandise in God’s Temple. But Jesus was. He was bothered terribly, and so was his Father.

Jesus was not interested in recruiting help from even his closest companions if they weren’t convicted in their own consciences by this atrocity. After all, each of the disciples themselves were parties to the chaos, the crime, and the spiritual cruelty that took place in the Temple, each time they showed up for worship or to offer a sacrifice, and yet did nothing about it.

The first strategic leadership lesson to be learned from Jesus cleansing the Temple is…

Anyone who ignores problems that anger God and bring reproach to his name, is not a leader.

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2.  Action always speaks louder than words.

It’s never enough just to talk about change. A true leader leads by example and will bring about the change himself or herself, even when others are too slow or too dense to see the need for change.

It wouldn’t have been enough for Jesus to use the poor state of the Temple as a teaching moment during a later sermon out in the wilderness. It’s a sin to leave undone what you know should be done. James, the half-brother of Jesus, commented on that very issue when he wrote, “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17).

Cleansing the Temple made everyone uneasy. His disciples were probably scared to death during the whole “whipping-people-with-a-cord” ordeal. But I guarantee you that they never forgot that moment for the rest of their lives! The saw, watched, and beheld the zeal that raced through Jesus’ veins as he cleansed the Temple, God’s house, the house of prayer.

The second strategic leadership lesson to be learned from Jesus cleansing the Temple is…

A true leader always does what needs to be done, even if no one else has the guts to do it!

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3.  Jesus embraced and dealt with the “consequences” of his actions.

Look, you can’t disrupt the order of a worship service and think no one will notice. You can’t overturn tables or beat people with a cord and expect no one to be offended. But if that’s what is required to clean God’s house, then it must be done. And Jesus did that.

He expected people to notice. He wanted people to notice. He wanted them to wonder, to think, to go back to worshipping God as their only and first love. He wanted them all to be overcome with zeal for God’s house, like he was, rather than overcome by anger because he had the guts to destroy their unholy commerce which was taking place on holy ground.

The religious leaders were angry. They wanted to know what right he had to do that (Just who do you think you are, Jesus of Nazareth!). Jesus knew they were coming with all their superficial religiosity, their false piety, and their torn money bags.

PLEASE NOTICE: He didn’t leave town. He confronted them—head on!—with their questions, their accusations, and he dealt with the consequences of his actions before all those who claimed to have the authority. That’s the mark of a genuine leader.

The third strategic leadership lesson to be learned from Jesus cleansing the Temple is…

There are consequences to every action in life. God-honoring #leadership takes action and embraces the outcome.

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These are 3 Strategic Leadership lessons I glean from watching Jesus clean house (aka: Cleanse the Temple). What do you think?

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