We’re continuing our look at Mark’s Gospel. Specifically, the last week before the cross. Jesus is in Jerusalem for the Passover feast.
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.
Obviously, Jesus was upset by what He saw going on in the Temple. The courts were like a city marketplace.
The Law of Moses said that if you lived far away from Jerusalem, you could sell your offering animals at home. Then, when you journey to Jerusalem for the feast, you could use that money to buy the animals on site. God was making it easier for the Israelites to serve Him.
Then man gets involved. The priests determined that you can’t use regular money to buy animals for sacrifice. You have to use special Temple coins – hence the money changers. But they sold these coins at a premium.
So if you wanted to give your full offering of animals for the sacrifice, it would cost you double what they were worth. That’s the thievery that Jesus was talking about. The Temple had become a place where greed and self-interest was the driving force.
Jesus showed the passion He had for the true worship of God. There was no place for these attitudes in the courts of the Lord. He tried to teach them the lessons that they should have already known.
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.'”
It’s sad that many religious Christians only apply this by saying that they’ll never have a flea market or fair on church property. That’s not the point.
In spite of our religious language, local churches are no longer God’s house. We, as God’s people, are now the temple of the living God. The question isn’t, “What are we allowing on church property?” It’s about what I’m allowing into my life.
Please understand that my heart – the sanctuary – may be clean. But what about the outer courts? That’s what my body is involved in.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
The courts are where you prepare to worship. It’s the outer part of our lives that we let the thieves do their work.
Sometimes we get so distracted by too many things in our schedule. Then we have no time for worship. We miss out on the blessings of fellowship with the Father.
Thanksgiving and praise are things that I have to make my flesh do. I have to actually make the time for these pursuits. Once I’ve entered into the place of praise, the courts, then I’m ready to pour my heart out to God.
Christ is passionate about you becoming a “house of prayer.” Don’t let it get to the point where your “distracting tables” need to be overturned. Spend the time needed in thanksgiving and praise so that you’re truly prepared to enter His presence with no distractions.
You’ll be glad that you did.
Question: How do outward distractions affect your inner peace with God?
© 2018 Nick Zaccardi