Friday 19 November 2010

Bible Book:

"'My house shall be a house of prayer'; but you have made it a den of robbers." (v. 46)

Luke 19:45-48 Friday 19 November 2010


The Temple was a controversial place at the time of Jesus. Manyfaithful Jewish people almost despaired of what had become of sucha powerful symbol of God's faithfulness and presence among them.Jesus' behaviour is very much in keeping with a wider desire to'cleanse the Temple'; his is a deliberate prophetic action. Thesellers, and in Mathew's account (Matthew 21:12-17) the money changers, were aparticular focus for the disquiet. The fact of selling may not bethe main problem, though it is hard to imagine that the complexsacrifice rituals were best fulfilled by the rich purchasingsuitable gifts on their way into worship. It may be that thedubious practice of money laundering, of converting ritually impureRoman coinage to ritually pure temple coinage was more disturbingto Jesus and others. Perhaps we might also imagine that those thatchanged one currency into another would have been taking apercentage in the transaction, and while rendering polluted moneyfor clean money was helpful, it wasn't going to make youpopular.

I wonder though, if the real problem was where it was happening. Itwasn't, in the inner sanctums of the Temple - the Holy of Holies;nor in the outer areas for priests, for men or further out still,for women. Was all this happening in the outermost courts? Thesewere the courts that the Jewish people didn't need because theywere there specifically for the Gentiles (non Jews) who didn'tmatter so much. The Temple's architecture embedded the promise toAbraham in Genesis that his people would be a 'blessing to theGentiles' (see Galatians 3:6-9). Here in this outer court wasthe one place that the unclean could come. It was only here thatunclean money could be exchanged. But by filling it with a marketplace it undermined the whole purpose of God's faithfulness to theJewish people.

To Ponder

Where does the Church favour the faithful andexclude the outsider?

What purpose does the Church have in the localcommunity?

In Prisons Week, remember Christian prisoners andtheir ministry.

And Pray
Welcoming God, keep the edges of the Church free of nonsenseso that we might be a blessing to others.

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