Scripture: Mark 11:15-19
Do you remember a few years back when IHOP announced it was changing its name to IHOB?
The International House of Pancakes known for its 24-hour pancakes and waffles wanted to improve their lunch and dinner business by changing the P for pancakes to B for burgers. It was a marketing success and their sales increased.
In today’s portion of Scripture – we find a very different IHOP. Jesus was extremely upset – righteously angry – that the Temple, instead of being an International House of Prayer, was known as a den of thieves. Part of Jesus’ mission on earth, was for ordinary people to get a first-hand view of God’s character and His reaction to the world we live in. We’ve seen how Jesus lovingly welcomed children to talk to him; how Jesus hugged and healed social outcasts; how Jesus fed the hungry and opened the physical and spiritual eyes of the blind; and how Jesus called lost sinners to repentance. But we’ve also seen how Jesus warned people to watch out for the hypocrisy and hidden sin of the Pharisees and the Jewish King Herod. As Jesus enters the Temple, he begins to clean house and remind people what it’s there for – the worship of God almighty – and access for ALL people – including Gentiles.
Drove out buyers & sellers
Overturned tables of money changers
Taught true worship
Crowd was astonished
Religious Leaders wanted to destroy him
It was because the commercial activities had crowded out worship as the main purpose of the temple that Jesus protested, and sought to bring about Isaiah’s vision of the eschatological role of the temple.
Many people point to this gospel event and say Jesus was wrong or even sinful for being angry – knocking over tables and chasing people out of the temple. Jesus displayed God’s righteous anger which is just. God’s white-hot, pure reaction to unholy worship and the mistreatment of the poor and outcast was on full display. Jesus was fully justified in his actions of cleaning out the temple and ridding it of things that did not belong.
By clearing out the traders, money changers, and busy walk-through traffic, Jesus literally and symbolically provided a place for Gentiles to worship in the temple of God.
Jesus’ purpose was not to reform the temple but to abolish it. This was symbolized by the expulsion of the merchants, who in turn represent the priestly establishment and beyond that the whole nation. Israel was symbolically expelled from the temple, and it was symbolically abandoned by Jesus.
False worship or busyness in our lives that crowds out prayer and a real relationship with God.
Do you have a personal relationship with God or is it a matter of busyness and religious duty? God sent his Son, the promised Messiah, not only to save Israel, but that all people and all nations would know Him, worship Him and glorify Him.
This all starts by your own repentance of sin and acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Redeemer. The only one who can pay for your sins and forgive you, making everlasting peace with God.
Do you make room in your life for God? Do you plan time for communication with God in your daily worship a priority?
We speak to him through prayer and he speaks to us through His Word.
Do the outsiders in our community think of First baptist church as a house of prayer?
Are all nations welcomed here? Look around you – do we reflect the diversity in our local community? How can we encourage that more?
Why do you go to church? Is it only to maintain your reputation or to truly worship and glorify God?
If Jesus were to physically show up in our house of worship like he did in Jerusalem that day, what changes would He make?
Let’s continue to strive to make this an International House of Prayer – for all people!