Thursday, January 26, 2017

Day 11 – My Father’s House

Read:  John 2:13-25

As Jesus approached the Temple for the Passover festival, the sights and sounds resembled that of a common marketplace. People were buying and selling religious items and exchanging their money in order to pay the temple tax. Religious leaders were profiting from a celebration that was intended to remind people of God’s mercy and grace. Grace and profit margins seldom go together. Jesus responded by driving all of the merchants out of the Temple and reminding the people that the temple was not a market, but His “Father’s house.”

It is interesting that Jesus' first assault on the establishment was aimed at the religious and not the political class. This was certainly a shock to His followers who assumed the Messiah would overthrow those who were oppressing God's people. The presence of Roman soldiers in Jerusalem was a constant reminder of Rome's power over the Jewish state. These would have been easy and accessible targets for Jesus. As His ministry unfolds, the religious leaders continue to be the target of most of Jesus' rebukes. Jesus expresses almost no concern over Rome's political oppression. Instead, He consistently focuses on the spiritual abuse that permeated the religious establishment.

We live in a political climate where it may seem easy to identify groups opposed to God’s Kingdom. The ever-increasing secularization of our society makes twenty-first century America not so unlike first century Rome. Given the similarities, it is important for Christians to follow Jesus’s lead. While politics and our civic responsibilities are important, we need to maintain our witness as people who have been set apart. The church is not a marketplace or a political action committee, but the very house of God. Christians must work to preserve the sacred space the church offers to those seeking to know God’s mercy and grace.

Righteous Jesus, 

Thank You for demanding that Your Father’s house remain a place of grace and mercy. Forgive us for anything we have done to use it for selfish gain. Make us as passionate about its purity as You were on the day you cleansed the temple.

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