5 Minute Read

TODAY’S BIBLE READING:

Exodus 12:14–13:16
Matthew 20:29–21:22
Psalm 25:16-22
Proverbs 6:12-15

TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

Matthew 21:13 (CSB) “He said to them, ‘It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!'”

REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):

When Christians read Matthew 21:13, they often jump to a wrong conclusion. They hear Jesus saying that His house is to be a house of prayer and they think that his instruction pertains to the church services.

While we certainly should pray in our church services, and while I have added intentional prayer time to the worship services at the two churches I have most recently pastored, this is not what Jesus’ words address.

Our error comes when we equate our church buildings to the Jerusalem Temple.

When Jesus said the words recorded in Matthew 21:13, He was in the Jerusalem Temple. He was angry that the Temple environment, which should have been a place of prayer and worship, had been turned into a raucous marketplace.

It was loud! Businessmen were yelling to get worshipers to buy their merchandise. Worshipers were showing up empty handed in hopes to purchase items with which to worship only to get angered that convenience came at a steep price. The whole environment was robbing the place of the atmosphere in which worshipers could enjoy God’s presence as they spoke to Him in prayer.

And Jesus got angry. Really angry!

Matthew 21:13 (CSB) “He said to them, ‘It is written, my house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of thieves!'”

So, how are we to apply Jesus’ words? What does it mean to hear what Jesus is saying and understand how it looks in our lives?

Well, we need to understand what He meant by “my house” and then what that house is today.

“My house” referred to the Jerusalem Temple. It was the location that worshipers should up to in order to worship God.

But the Jerusalem Temple no longer exists. It’s is completely gone.

Matthew 24:1-2 (CSB) “As Jesus left and was going out of the temple, his disciples came up and called his attention to its buildings. He replied to them, ‘Do you see all these things? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here on another that will not be thrown down.'”

Jesus clearly said that the Jerusalem Temple was going to be destroyed and not one stone was going to be left on top of another. (If you want to read a post that I wrote in which I state that Jesus’ words literally came true and the present “Temple Mount” site is not where the Jerusalem Temple once rested, click here.)

So, with the Jerusalem Temple now completely gone, what “house will be called a house of prayer?”

Yes, we should prayer in church and it should be known as a place where prayer occurs. But, Jesus’ words weren’t talking about a church service. He was talking about the Temple.

So, with the Jerusalem Temple gone, does a Temple still exist?

Yes!

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.” (underline added)

Friend, the Jerusalem Temple is gone. But if you are a Jesus-follower, the Temple still exists! It’s you! You are the Temple of God! Just like God dwelt in the Jerusalem Temple, so God’s Holy Spirit now dwells in you.

That being the case, when we hear Jesus words that the Temple, “My house,” will be a place of prayer, that means that prayer should be offered up from our Temple, our bodies. We should be known as people of prayer.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 (CSB) “pray constantly,”

Yes, our churches should be known as places of prayer but that’s because we bring our temples, our bodies, to church.

So, that brings us to a needed question: “Friend, how’s your prayer life?”

Jesus wants you to be a house of prayer. He wants you to talk to Him. He wants to you share your life with Him. He wants you to ask Him for things.

Hear Jesus’ invitation in our Verse for Today and spend time with Him today in prayer. Let your body be “a house of prayer.”