Monday, April 6, 2020

Devotional Thought– A House of Prayer

Michelle Mercer (Major)

Scripture Reading– Mark 11:12-19

So, what was happening here?

People from far and wide were gathering in Jerusalem for the upcoming Passover Feast and as they were coming to the temple with their sacrifices to offer in worship, they encountered trade stalls and moneychangers.

You see, the sacrifices chosen by the pilgrims to Jerusalem were being rejected. “More appropriate” or “more worthy” sacrifices were being sold in the temple courts. The currency of the pilgrims and the currency of Rome were being rejected. Money changers were set up to exchange currency… for a price, of course.

All of this was happening in the only place Gentile worshippers (non-Jews) were permitted to worship- the temple courts.

At the beginning of the week leading to Calvary, Jesus steps into this scene of injustice and chaos. Jesus’ Passion Week begins in the temple erected for worship and as Jesus surveys the unholiness that has entered there, he shows righteous indignation.

Jesus quotes Isaiah 56:6-7

6 And foreigners who bind themselves to the Lord
to minister to him,
to love the name of the Lord,
and to be his servants,
all who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it

and who hold fast to my covenant—

Declaring the ancient prophecy about God’s welcome for all and knowing that in a few short days he would spill his own blood as a sacrifice for the whosoever, Jesus clears the temple and opens up the way for all nations to worship and pray.

God’s house: not the physical building only but the Body of Christ on earth- the church is called to be a House of Prayer for all Nations. In these days we are all keenly aware of the importance of God’s people to be people of prayer and we need to be that for all nations. We also need to seek new, creative and innovative ways to reach out to everyone with the hope that we have found in Christ.

As Christ followers, we may need to ask ourselves tough questions about whether we are sometimes exclusive about the faith we profess. We need to search our hearts and our practices to determine if we set up barriers that intentionally or unintentionally keep others farther away from God.

In so many ways, our world is broken. As broken people who have found hope and healing in Jesus, we are called at the beginning of Holy Week to bring the world to Jesus in prayer and to do all we can to open the way for others to get to know him better. Let God’s house continue to be a house of prayer for all nations!

Song for Reflection- JESUS, KEEP ME NEAR THE CROSS

Fanny J. Crosby / William H. Doane 

Jesus, keep me near the cross
There a precious fountain
Free to all, a healing stream
Flows from Calv’ry’s mountain.

In the cross, in the cross
Be my glory ever
Till my raptured soul shall find
Rest beyond the river.

Near the cross, a trembling soul
Love and mercy found me
There the bright and morning star
Shed its beams around me

Near the cross! O Lamb of God
Bringing scenes before me
Help me walk from day to day
With its shadow o’ e r me.

Near the cross I’ll watch and wait
Hoping, trusting ever
Till I reach the golden strand
Just beyond the river.