March 23, 2006

Cluttered Temple, Cluttered Lives

Mark 11:15-19

"Is it not written: ?My house will be called a house of prayer ...'?" Mark 11:17


The temple was beautiful, built with the finest architectural skills of the day. It was also huge and took up a significant part of the old city of Jerusalem. Built by King Herod for the people, it was the center for the Jewish community.

When Jesus walked into this place on the day after his triumphal entry, he became angry. One reason for this was that the temple of the Lord was meant to be a house of prayer, but it had been reduced to a market thruway. Because the temple was so large, people coming into Jerusalem from the north side of the city found it more convenient to walk through the temple area than around it. As they came in, they also needed to have their money exchanged into temple currency and to buy animals for ritual sacrifices. So money changers and merchants set up their shops in the temple to cater to these people.

What upset Jesus was that with all this buying and selling, the temple was no longer a place of worship and prayer. It had become a place of convenience, a busy marketplace, and worship had been sidelined.

The same can happen easily in our own lives. Think about the busyness in your life. Are you staying focused on the God who loves you? Have you built a habit of prayer and worship to remain centered on God?

Lord, sometimes my life can feel more like a thruway than a place of worship and prayer. Please help me to stay centered on you as the Lord of my life. In Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Kevin DeRaaf

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