Devotional Reading from Matthew 21:12-22
Devotional Reading from the Gospels
Matthew 21:12–22 12And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. 14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them. 15And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,16And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? 17And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there. 18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. 19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away. 20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away! 21Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. 22And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
That last day Jesus came to the temple surely was something special. It started with him violently cleansing the temple. This was at least the second time that he did it. The moneychangers and sellers had moved into the outer court and set up shop. They were working in conjunction with the priests to make money hands over fist. The priest would reject your home brought sacrifice forcing you to buy one from the sellers within the temple itself. The sellers only took temple currency so that too was a scam. In my opinion, this theft was not the worst of their sins. They had set themselves up in the outer court, the court of the gentiles. It was as far as a gentile like me could go within the temple. It was there that the gentiles could come to pray. The intention of the Lord had always been that this outer court would be a place for prayer from all nations. The last words of Isaiah 56:7 were “…For mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.” These crooks had ruined the witness of the Temple to all nations. They had destroyed the only worship that gentiles would ever experience. No wonder Jesus was so enraged. Jesus began to heal those people who would limp and be led into his house bringing praise from the children. I love what Jesus said as he defended the children that day, he quoted Psalm 8:2 as he asked, “Have you never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?” There is nothing like the sight and sound of a sincere child engaged in worship. When Martin Luther saw the children praying he was emboldened to say, “…the devil cannot defeat us now, the children begin to pray!” That is what he wanted in his house all along, sincere, heartfelt, passionate, childlike worship. Let’s worship that way!