It’s amazing what happens when one dives into a chapter of Scripture. For the past few years I have been diligent at reading short daily devotionals and feeling satisfied that I at least attempted to connect with Jesus. I would walk away with a good thought or something to ponder. But, I am amazed at what happens when one sits down with the Bible in hand and actually studies a full chapter for a week! It has been a while since I have figured out for myself what a passage means and not used somebody else’s interpretation of the Word to inspire me. This week I have been awestruck at the amount of information in Matthew 21 and all the lessons that stem from these 46 verses.
I want to focus on Matthew 21:12&13 The Cleansing of the Temple
Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer, ‘ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”
A market had been established in part of the temple, the Court of the Gentiles. The merchants set up shop in the temple court for the convenience of those who came from all regions to celebrate Passover and any other celebrations. Foreign Jews could exchange money and purchase sacrifices. What had begun as a service and convenience for visitors from other lands soon turned into a profitable business. The merchants were “robbing” the customers by charging high prices. The focus of the believers had turned to “making a deal” and away from a “house of prayer” and Jesus was angry. Jesus invaded the temple to restore it to its purpose.
The temple was to be called a “house of prayer.”
The word house refers to a way of life, not necessarily a structure. A house is the place where we live with our families and those we love. We return to our homes on a daily basis (after school, work, appointments, or running errands), it is not a place where we temporarily visit or pass through. I consider myself a home-body. I love to be at home with my husband and three children. My home is what I know, it is mine. I can’t imaging if I spent as much time with Jesus in His Word as I do just being in my home! He wants us to be home with him…to make him our house where we live day in and day out.
Prayer is to ask for favor, to urge, or to request something. Prayer humbles us because we have to ask for help and guidance. Prayer invites God into our daily lives, needs and struggles.
To be a House of Prayer, then we need to be at “home” with Jesus, living with him, asking Him for all that we need every day.
The reference “den of thieves” comes from Jeremiah 7:11. A den is where thieves would hide to plot their next adventure and hide from whomever they robbed. In Jeremiah, the people were hiding in the Temple to cover up their sins.
If Jesus invaded my heart-What would He find? Would He be angry? Would He find I am filling it with worldly finds to try and find peace, fulfillment, and happiness? Would He find that I am more suitable to a den of thieves or a House of Prayer?
Just as 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be a house of prayer. To live and reside in constant communion with Jesus. Jesus wants to cleanse us of all the BUSINESS that is going on in our heart and restore us to a house of prayer. I want to cleanse my heart daily and not get caught up in the business of life that overshadows his call for me to be a house of prayer.