April 3 – The Temple A Constant House of Prayer

by Macon Fields

Read: Cleansing the Temple (Mark 11:15-19)

Key Verse: He was teaching them: “Is it not written, My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves!” (Mark 11:17)

Three times a year, all Jewish males were required to celebrate Passover in Jerusalem. Jesus’
parents went every year (Luke 2:41-50). At the Temple, He sat among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. He astonished the scholars of His day with His scriptural insight.
At the Temple we have the recorded instance that Jesus, at age 12, understood who He was.

However, at this crucial Passover week, Jesus arrived at the Temple to find a scene where action was demanded:

He was teaching them: “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!” (Mark 11:17, Also referenced in Isaiah 56:7; Jeremiah 7:11)

Jesus saw injustice:

• Outrageous exchange rates to convert international currency to Temple currency were being charged to all outsiders including many poor people. Animals for sacrifices could be purchased there. The Jewish leaders turned a blind eye to this as they disliked Gentiles being there at all.

• The moneychangers’ new god was greed. Their hypocritical activity was blocking the area of prayer dedicated to the Gentiles. Business had become more important than worship.

• The guardians of the law were violating the very first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exod. 20:3).

As with other passages in God’s Word there are many relevant points for us no matter how many years have gone by:

“There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

• Jesus would not allow anything to block people from God, and we must never allow race, gender, doctrine, politics, money, or anything to deny access to the church or do anything to be a stumbling block to someone seeking Jesus.

• There are times when decisive action is the only option. The injustice of the Temple scene angered Jesus. We as Christians should fight against modern-day injustice as well.

• We should welcome all people who come to our church, focusing not just on who is attending, but more importantly, on why they are attending.

• The New Testament uses the metaphor that our bodies are the Temple now (1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19). We should live and walk with our High Priest, Jesus (Heb. 7:24-25). We are to constantly be in the “house of prayer” and focus on God.