“My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a ‘den of thieves’” (verse 13)
As we read through the pages of the Old Testament we see it happening time after time. God’s chosen people (the Jews) fall into sin and out of favor with the Lord, often leading to extended seasons of spiritual discipline and chastisement.
Frequently their ‘falling away’ was accompanied by a disrespecting of their place of worship – the Temple, where God’s presence was to be known and experienced.
Such was the case in today’s narrative. Yet again the people were disgracing God’s House – again, the place where His holy presence dwelt – by engaging in racketeering and dishonest gain. This happened largely when the Roman coinage – used throughout the region – was exchanged for the required temple currency. During Passover, money-changing was as lucrative as legitimate merchandising. Furthermore, their operation was being run in the court of the Gentiles, effectively rendering it useless as a place of prayer.
Today, God’s Temple – the place where He resides and His presence is known – is not a building or structure made of bricks and stone. It is the hearts of his people – the true Chosen Ones – who are attempting to be faithful followers.
As such, how does that change one’s understanding of Jesus’ words that his “house (Temple) shall be called a house of prayer?”