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My House Shall be Called a House of Prayer

Read Matthew 21:12-17

After the monumental entry into Jerusalem, which fulfilled several prophecies of the Old Testament (See Psalm 118:25-26; Zechariah 9:9, Isaiah 66:18-20), Jesus goes to the Temple. Here we see a side of Jesus that is often not considered: he was angry and tore up the marketplace that had been set up in the Temple.

The Bible speaks of two kinds of anger: righteous and unrighteous. Righteous anger is that kind of strong response towards what is evil and wrong. Anger over the Russian invasion into Ukraine, the horrific practice of abortion and sex trafficking, those stuck in poverty, etc. would fall under this category. Unrighteous anger is anger towards things that are good. Jealousy toward another’s promotion or gain, anger at God for not “blessing” you in the way you want, etc. So, there is a kind of anger that is righteous. We see God having righteous anger in the Old Testament towards His people when they do not trust Him or against His people’s enemies (e.g. Numbers 11:1, Psalm 29:1). Therefore, we should not be surprised when we see Jesus, the Son of God, have this righteous anger.

The reason for Jesus’ anger? (1) The marketplace made the Temple something other than a house of prayer and (2) in calling it a den of robbers, Jesus makes clear that there was unjust gain occurring.

In less than a week Jesus was about to make the Temple irrelevant. In establishing the New Covenant through His shed blood on the cross, Jesus made the way for the presence of God to be in human hearts (Ezekiel 36:26-27). Now those who are Christ-followers are the temple of God (individually: 1Corinthians 6:19, corporately: Ephesians 2:19-22).

The work of the Spirit includes cleansing the Temple of God, your heart, from which all sorts of evil is rooted (Matthew 15:10-20). Take some time to make the Temple of God a house of prayer. Turn your attention toward Jesus who is our example of seeking the will of the Father. This usually is best in a quiet place, but the Lord can meet you in the daily routine of work, kids or school.

5-minute Suggested Order of Prayer:

(1 min) Pray: “Holy Spirit, I present to you my heart, which is Your temple, for cleansing. Shine the light of your love in my heart to any places that are a den of robbers.”

(3 min) Confess and agree with any sin that is brought to mind. Thank the Spirit for His loving light and the forgiveness and grace that you have right now in Jesus.

(1 min) Pray: “Holy Spirit, I present to You the rest of my day and set it apart as sacred in this Holy Week. I invite you into every moment to guide me that your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

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