I love what occurs in this passage of scripture…
15On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple area and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the benches of those selling doves, 16and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written:
” ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’[c]? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.”
In His final week as a man, Jesus enters Jerusalem and goes straight to the temple. There, He finds merchants selling doves, lambs and different items needed for sacrifice. You see, it was Passover and Jewish families were migrating from various nations to sacrifice. Many of them were not able or chose not to carry their livestock with them so they, instead, would bring money and buy the sacrifice at the temple (at a 300% mark up minimum). Seemed like a good idea, uh? People would still sacrifice, and the temple ministry would profit. It’s a win – win situation; but why was Jesus so upset? Why did he do what He did?
The pursuit of God is never about convenience. We intend to try to make it easier for people to connect with God. We alter our services, we become extremely time conscience, and we make our churches to feel more like the mall than a place where we meet with God.
Please don’t get me wrong. I believe in creating a seeker friendly environment and making people feel special. I want good customer service and excellence in all our ministries; but I am learning that it cannot be at the expense of moving away from a true desire to recklessly pursue God as a church.
I believe Jesus was upset for 2 reasons. 1. The temple was not being utilized as a place of prayer and worship unto God. 2. People were using the temple and a time dedicated for sacrifice and worship as a time of taking advantage and profiting. With that He shouted, “MY HOUSE will be called a house of PRAYER!”
What about us now? Do we do the same? Are we not the house of God? The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:19…“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?” If we are now the temple of God, the principle must still apply, we must be called a house of PRAYER.
God has been dealing with my ambition to succeed. Like the moneychangers in Jerusalem, I have been guilty of using what is Holy and trying to make it profitable – all for the sake of the Kingdom of God. For example, my time; I have substituted precious time that needed to be spent before the Lord, for time spent trying to make a name for myself. I have robbed myself of precious prayer time for time spent to satisfy my flesh; after all, I worked very hard and felt deserving. We all have a way of justifying things, don’t we?
My point is this. We are the house of God. We are His temples. We should be known to be a house of prayer not a den where the robbing of God’s intentions and purposes take place for the sake of conveniences and. Let’s become a House of PRAYER, both corporate and personally.