“… and [Jesus] would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:16-17 NIV)
Jesus has just driven people out and is preventing people from coming and selling in the temple courts. YET he is also teaching at the same time.
Jesus quotes Isaiah (house of prayer for all nations) and Jeremiah (den of robbers) in his critique of them.
The area where they were selling / changing money was the area open to all… open to all nations as he quotes from Isaiah.
The merchants were in the outer court of the temple, where everyone could gather. This area Jesus reclaims for worship and prayer where all could do so.
This Holy Week I can see my “courtyard” cluttered… filled with things that get in the way of worshiping, serving, and praying. And sometimes they are just as surely related to money and gain.
How can I keep the merchandise where it belongs? How can I keep open the ways to prayer, to worship, to service, to glorifying God?
Jesus can keep the ways open as he did then… may I be more willing and even eager for him to do so.
Holy God, the courtyards of my mind and heart are just as cluttered and overtaken with the things of this world as your temple on that day Jesus cleansed the temple. My temple is more a place of robbers than of prayer. Cleanse the temple of my heart, clear the courtyard of mind, keep open the ways of my will as I move through this Holy Week again. Amen.