“And he was teaching them and saying to them, is it not written? My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of robbers.”
This is Jesus’s words right in the middle of him cleansing the Temple. So he has just turned over tables of money changers and people selling pigeons, and the whole picture that developed there at the Temple. So picture it this way. You had the different courts, the Temple, and the very center of the Temple. So this was not just like a church building. This was the place where you go to encounter the glory of God, the presence of God, among his people.
Are we prioritizing ourselves more than the glory of God among the nations? Father, forgive us for our selfishness and help us to spend ourselves for the spread of Your gospel.
And so in the very center of the Temple, you have the Holy of Holies. And obviously only the high priest enters into the Holy of Holies, and only on a very rare basis to offer sacrifice for sins. You begin to expand out. You have a court of Jewish men where Jewish men can come and worship God, encounter the glory, presence of God among his people. Then you have a court of Jewish women where Jewish women can go, dedicated to where they can encounter God’s glory. Then on that outer court, you have the court of the Gentiles, the court of the nations. This is the place where people who are not Jewish men or women can come and encounter the glory of God.
So when the people set up tables to exchange money and sell pigeons, where do you think they set up their tables? Certainly not in the Holy of Holies, and certainly not in the court of Jewish men, and certainly not in the court of Jewish women. Instead, they had set up all of this commerce in the court of the Gentiles, the place that was dedicated to the worship of God among the nations.
In other words, they had prioritized making money and exchanging goods overspreading the praise and worship and glory of God among the nations. Jesus, in righteous anger, turns over their tables and he says, so catch this, “My house shall be called a house of prayer.” That’s what we think of when we think about this story. This is a place of prayer, of worshiping the glory of God and it is. But the emphasis, and we see it particularly here in Mark in Jesus’s words when he says, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations.” The people had basically said, “We’re going to make money, and the nations can go to hell. The nations can miss out on seeing and encountering the glory of God.” So in light of that story let’s ask ourselves the question, are we prone to do the same thing, to prioritize ourselves, our preferences, our pride, our ways, our convenience, so many different things while ignoring the need for the spread of God’s glory among all the nations?
Oh God, we pray that you would forgive us. When I think about 2 to 3 billion people among the nations right now who have little to no knowledge of the gospel, many who have never even heard the name or the truth of Jesus, forgive us we pray for ignoring them. For turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to them, for even creating so much in a religious system that revolves around ourselves and our conveniences and our preferences and what we want, what we desire, such that we have turned in so many ways a blind eye and a deaf ear to the need for your gospel and the spread of your glory among all the nations of the earth. God, we repent of that. God, we repent of that together to the extent to which it is appropriate. We repent of that individually. And we pray that you would lift our eyes to the nations. Help us to see our lives, our churches as temples of your Holy Spirit designed by you. Our lives, our families, our churches designed by you for the spread of your glory among the nations. And we pray then you would spin us toward that end. Help us to pray toward that end. Help us to give toward that end. Help us to go toward that end that you might be known, enjoyed, loved, glorified by all the peoples of the earth.
God, we pray for the Teli Gangauta in India, in Bihar, India. I think about the time that I’ve been in Bihar and so many people, so many who don’t know you, who don’t know your grace, who have never heard the gospel. God, we pray that would change. We pray for the Teli Gangauta. Please God, please, please, please bring your salvation to them, to this nation, to this people group and to just the millions of people in Bihar like them and billions of people around the world God, we pray. Help us to be faithful to make your glory, spread your glory, shout your glory among all the nations. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.