And He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. (Mark 11:15b)
Read Mark 11:15-19
Some things just shouldn't be there -- like a whole market set up inside the temple courtyard itself. Pigeons, oxen, sheep -- a zoo full of noise. Air filled with smells, dust, and feathers. Men sitting behind tables to change foreign money into money acceptable for temple use, there were cheaters and liars everywhere.
Who was supposed to be there, then? This was the Court of the Gentiles -- the big open area where anybody was allowed to come and pray to the God of Israel, even if they hadn't converted to Judaism. It was the place God spoke of when He said, "And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to Him, to love the Name of the Lord, and to be His servants... these I will bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer ... for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples" (Isaiah 56:6-7).
That wasn't what Jesus saw in the temple. And so He took action -- turning over tables, clearing out the merchants, ordering the bird-sellers to get their cages out of there. He wouldn't even allow traders to take shortcuts through the courtyard anymore, which they liked to do since it was faster than going through the streets of Jerusalem. No. This space was going to be for God's people, for teaching, for preaching, for worship, and nobody was going to be allowed to disturb them. And that's what Jesus used it for that very day, as soon as He got it cleared.
Now what? Space to worship. A chance to concentrate. There would be peace and quiet, broken only by the voice of the Lord teaching and the sound of prayer-and the voices of happy children, praising Jesus! The Gentiles were welcome again. Everybody was welcome again. Jesus had set it right.
Is there some area of your heart or life where you need Jesus to set things right? He can and will do it. Ask Him. Because you, too, are one of those God wants to make joyful in His house of prayer.
THE PRAYER: Lord, You know what needs to be set right in my heart. Please help me. Amen.
What is the strangest thing you have seen in your home, workplace, or school? Why was it out of place?
How do you yourself help newcomers to feel welcome at church? Give specific ways.
What area of your own heart or life needs a good clean-out right now? Write or say a prayer asking Jesus to take care of it.
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