Jesus clears the Temple (Mark 11:15-18)

15 On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money-changers and the benches of those selling doves, 16 and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. 17 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”.’

18 The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.

Mark 11: 15-18

Who could ever have imagined all churches would be ordered to close? Throughout the world places of worship lie empty and cleared. If we had to pick a time for churches to be emptied could we have picked a better time than Holy Week?

Reasons to Leave the House

The morning after Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem, he visited the temple and turned over the tables of the money-changers and those selling doves.

Why was the temple full of market stalls?

People travelled from far and near to Jerusalem for Passover. They needed to buy animals for their sacrifices somewhere. Jesus was angry because the stalls where making it difficult for Gentiles and women to worship, restricting access to the outer courts of the Temple. The only places in the Temple they were allowed to enter.

The Temple Courts

Restricting anyone from worshipping or taking part in temple life was contrary to why Jesus was on earth. He came so that all would be able to approach God’s throne of grace in confidence, without hindrance.

Our world has changed, many people no longer believe what the church believes . They live a different way to how we live. Has the church been a welcoming place to people who are not like us? Has our image or public perception been welcoming?

Now that our churches have closed how can we re-open them as a house of prayer for all nations? This is a challenge to church leaders everywhere, but it is also a challenge to each of us as members. Will we open our churches with an invitation and an encouragement for people to join us?

Holy week is about making approaching God as easy as possible for people like you and me. Will we continue to make that approach to God as easy as possible by inviting others to come and see?

Prayer Father I thank you for how Jesus has opened the way for me to approach your throne of grace. I thank you for how he has made this easy by simply coming through him. (John 10:9-11) Teach us how to make it easy for others (John 10:16). Forgive us for how we have made it difficult because of our expectations and man-made rules. Teach us how to be an open and welcoming church for all. Amen

Psalm 40 Reflections Psalm 23 Reflections Church Away From Church