March 18

Matthew 21:12-13 12Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13"It is written," he said to them, "'My house will be called a house of prayer,' but you are making it a 'den of robbers.'"

Jesus had cleaned out the outer court of the Temple on the first Passover of His ministry (John 2:15). At the last Passover, He did it again. The outer court was the area dedicated for the nations of the world to come and pray to Jehovah. The religious leaders had allowed it to become a market for exchanging coins to pay the Temple tax and for the purchase of sacrificial animals. The archeological finds of opulent homes of the priests indicates there may have been some financial gain for them in allowing this to take place there. Instead of a quiet courtyard for people to come before God, it was a noisy business center. It had also become a shortcut from one side of the city to the other. You can bet the religious leaders would never have allowed any of this to go on in the inner courts! It was a blatant disregard for the call of God to the Jewish people to present the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to the world. It was an attitude that said, "We know God, and we could care less about the rest of you that don't know Him." That was a complete misrepresentation of God who loves the world.

We are the temple of God today. Is your heart a quiet place of seeking after God and communing with Him, or is it filled with busy shouts of profiteering? Is our heart a place of merchandise or praise and thanksgiving? Our testimony can present the mandates and price tags of ritual, or the peaceful invitation to commune with God. Jesus' desire is for our hearts to be a house of prayer. His heart is for the nations. If your heart is a house of prayer, the worshipful atmosphere of the outward expression of your life will draw the nations to Him. You will be bringing the outer court of prayer to every unbeliever you meet.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, make my place of worship and my heart a house of prayer.