Forty Days of Prayer March 25
We have entered Holy Week. This is the week from Jesus entering Jerusalem on Palm Sunday up to Easter Sunday. In chapel I just asked the kids what happened on the Monday of Holy Week? They came up with many answers, most of which were things Jesus did later in the week. Do you know? Finally one of the teachers answered correctly in that Jesus entered the Temple and was angry with all of the activities that were not what they were supposed to be. Hear this in Mark chapter 11.
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: “My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it `a den of robbers.” The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. (Mark 11:15-18)
This passage has Jesus getting angry, flipping over table angry. Some people have the idea that getting angry is sinful, no. In fact all throughout the Old Testament we have God getting angry with the sin and evil of the world. In this passage Jesus is angry with what the Temple had become with all of the money changers and markets in the outer court of the Temple. Temple taxes would be paid with money that was not bearing the image of Caesar. Roman money was the common currency of the day, and currency traders converted Roman money into a local currency. I am not sure of what the transaction fee was here, but the whole enterprise Jesus found lost sight of what the Temple was to be for the world.
Jesus says the Temple is to be a House of Prayer for all nations. He is quoting Isaiah 56:7 in saying this. The place where they had set up the market was often called the court of the Gentiles. What a Gentile might find here is not a lot of prayer, but a lot of business activity. Places of prayer are important because they work make us stop and remind us to turn to God in prayer. That is one of the functions of the Church in the world today. Yet we also need other places to pray and that is why people pray before meals, and with certain places and events in life. One positive habit is to incorporate moments and places to pray in your daily routine. It may be on your commute to work or something that happens every day. The more of these we live out the stronger our faith and life will be in Christ Jesus.
In Christ’s Service, Pastor Dave
Thank you Lord, for Houses of Prayer. Your church today is a place set up for prayer for all people. Help me to pray in Your church, and also to pray every day. Prayer is the breath of the soul and without prayer I grow weary. Turn my mind and heart to You every day. Amen.