Bethesda News

Holy Week Devotion 2019 – Day 2

Monday, April 15, 2019

Matthew 21:12-17 (ESV) Jesus Cleanses the Temple

12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies

   you have prepared praise’?”

17 And leaving them, he went out of the city to Bethany and lodged there.

Reflection by Steve Heinbaugh (Men’s Mission Life Coach) and Patrick H., David K., Michael L. (Men’s Mission Guests)

The Restoration of All Things

No one knows how long the practice lasted—years, decades, centuries—to use the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Nations, as a convenience store for goods and services needed by respectable people to comfortably worship in the proper way. No one knows how often the freedom of a wounded soul at worship was oppressed by the commerce in the very courtyard given for its liberty and rest. So no one can even estimate how many prayers of the “unclean” were drowned out in the din of animal sounds, bartering, and the arguments about exchange rates.

If you’ve ever walked into a room planning to take your favorite seat only to find it already occupied; if you’ve ever gone to the table for dinner and found someone else sitting in “your spot;” if you ever held a stadium ticket—section 101 aisle 4 row M seat 6—and found it occupied when you got there; if you’ve ever entered the sanctuary for worship and discovered a stranger sitting in “your pew;” then you can at some small level relate to a gentile, to a blind man, to a lame person, to known sinners, to the poor who couldn’t afford the tax, or to any of the other “unclean” people who showed up at the Temple for worship only to find “their spot” was already taken up by animal pens, bird cages, piles of straw, sacks of feed, checkout lines, cashiers, hucksters, merchants, managers, ATM machines, customer service representatives.

Even at that smallest of levels, the heart is prodded to complain, “This just isn’t right.” Something is out of order. And that homesickness for order—for the rightness to be restored—is the stirring of a prayer: “Lord, make things right.”

Jesus is here answering the pent-up prayers of his forgotten people: “Long lay the world in sin and error pining ‘til he appeared, and the soul felt its worth….” It isn’t the blood of bulls and rams and sheep, but the sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart the Lord seeks.

‘My house will be called a house of prayer….’ He said, quoting his own words to Isaiah from a prophecy about restoring the blind and lame and even the eunuchs and their welcome in his Temple.

And in his restoring the proper order of things in the outer Temple precinct, things were finally the way they were intended to be: ‘And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them.’ “Lord, make things right.”

Ours is a day of division, chaos, vicious politics and unchecked commercialism—days in which “the last, the least, and the lost” are forgotten and overlooked, relegated to the boisterous outer courts, segregated from the “in” crowd.

Our Step Two reminds us that “We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This world needs its sanity restored—and we too! And as he restores, the praise flows out of the mouth of babes: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’ “The Lord makes things right.”

Reflection Questions

  1. What does Jesus mean when he says “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
  2. What are things that take the place of Jesus in your heart?
  3. In what ways is our world today “out of order” like the temple in the passage?

Prayer Guide

  1. Pray that Jesus would be King in your heart.
  2. Pray for restoration in our world.
  3. Pray for our guests in recovery and kids and families at the Community Center—that they would make Jesus King of their hearts.

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