Matthew 21:12-14 - And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and He overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you make it a den of robbers." And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them.
The last week of our Savior's life had come. Within five days He would be betrayed, arrested, convicted, sentenced, crucified, and killed. Yet, with fewer than 100 hours of His earthly life left, Jesus thought not of Himself, the shame, the torture, the agony awaiting Him; rather, His loving thoughts went out to His believers, His church. The more we learn of Christ, the more deeply, we study His Gospels, the more humbly we bow before the self-denying mercy which made Him show gracious concern for us at all times, even in the shadow of death.
Our Lord had hardly entered Jerusalem when He went straight to the temple. The Son of God regularly worshiped in His Father's house. Although marked by no taint of transgression, no semblance of sin whatever, He never neglected to visit the temple for prayer and meditation.
This was the second time Jesus cleansed the temple. Once before, at the beginning of His ministry, He made a whip of cords and drove the sheep and oxen from His Father's house; and now, near the end of His earthly activity, He had to repeat His reformation. With human nature today still greedy, grasping, how we need to pray: "O Christ, keep on cleansing our churches! Keep on driving selfish profit seekers from our temples!" Like those who sold doves for sacrifice and exchanged different forms of money for coins acceptable to the temple treasury, always at their own gain, too many Americans are in church for what they can get out of it: more business, new contacts, personal publicity.
Churches seek the support of money power, political power, organization power, and at the same time set aside the Almighty's supreme power. They are rich in real estate, bonds, bank balances, but poor in faith. Especially did Jesus tell the crowd there in the cleansed temple, that His church is to be the dwelling place of the Almighty—and those who worship Him rightly.
The church Jesus founded, the church He wants today, the church He will bless eternally, has room and redemption for everyone. He showed this in Jerusalem, where He purified the temple. He not only preached the Law, but He also practiced His love, for we read, "And the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them."
By the simple Gospel of redemption, which is offered to you today in the Savior's Name, the church today can change the world, just as surely as it did in the apostolic first century and in the Reformation's sixteenth century.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, keep on cleansing our churches until in Your second Advent You will bring us all to heavenly perfection! Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen
From "Christ, Keep on Cleansing Our Churches!" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Walter A. Maier, the first Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. What do you like/dislike most about church?
2. When Jesus said, "You make it (My house) a den of robbers," was He speaking to others besides those doing business there?
3. Do you take any special care to prepare yourself for worshiping at church?
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