Monday, April 11, 2022

Monday. . .

Matthew 21:12-19 (Jesus cleanses the temple)

He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver.  or so says Malachi chapter three.  The promise took a bit of time in coming but it did.  Jesus entered the temple to cleanse what had become tainted so that the promise of God's House might be fulfilled.  

Malachi addressed the restoration of the worship life of the people of God by the messenger of the Lord whom He sent to fulfill the promise.  In this way Christ purifies the priests although Jesus fulfills these words of promise in a way that no one could have expected. He walked into the Temple scene amid  people who were bustling in the outer court of the temple, known also as the court of the Gentiles.  This was to be a place for the nations to meet with God in worship, praise, and prayer.  That could not happen.  Instead of a house of prayer, Jesus found a thriving commercial business taking care of the selling of the sacrifices and exchanging money for a fee to pay the Temple tax.  It had become the consuming focus of the Temple -- the real purpose of the temple forgotten and lost amid people trading, buying and selling off of one another all the while taking advantage to make a profit off of things required.  What was Jesus to do?  In righteous anger, He drove them all out of the Temple and its courts.  He did not merely command them to leave but overturned their tables and their seats (Matthew 21:12), keeping them from getting back to business.  All the while He addressed them with the prophet's voice, “It is written, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer.’ But you are making it a den of thieves!” In Isaiah 56:7, God prophesies through the prophet that His house will be called a “house of prayer for all nations.” 

Almighty God, grant that in the midst of our failures and weaknesses we may be restored through the passion and intercession of Your only-begotten Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

You strode within the Temple, Lord,
Where merchants vied for gain,
And cried, “Your wares corrupt God’s house,
This place of prayer profane!”
With corded whip and fiery wrath
You put God’s foes to flight.
They could not bear the searching beam
Of your unshielded light.

The temple of your body, Lord,
They crushed when you were slain;
But after three days’ sleep in death,
God raised it up again.
And now you have a dwelling place
On earth, in all its lands.
Your people are your temple, Lord,
A house not made with hands.

Make ev’ry heart your temple, Lord,
Each life a holy place.
Forgive the sins that flaw your plan,
Your patient work deface.
In love that does not shrink from truth
These temples purify.
And then in mercy, Lord, remain;
Your Spirit’s gifts supply.

Come, visit, Lord of righteousness,
The Church that bears your name.
Drive out our fear and unbelief,
The pride that is our shame.
Renew the life we share, O Christ,
In love and prayer and praise.
Then send us forth, our strength restored,
To serve you all our days.

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