But what happened on Monday of Holy Week?
4/10/2017 11:52:35 AM
But, what happened on Monday of Holy Week? Easter, 2017.
Today is Palm Sunday as Jesus enters Jerusalem to cheers and waving palms. Then we know what happens on Friday, to be sure . . . but what of the days in between?
From the gospel writers, we can piece together much of Jesus’ activity, and it is rather telling. On Sunday afternoon Jesus walks through the temple, ostensibly surveying the goings-on in his Father’s house; in the evening, Jesus goes back to Bethany to spend the night at the home of Mary and Martha, sisters of Lazarus.1
On Monday, Jesus returns to Jerusalem, and to the Temple, where he would spend hours the next couple days, teaching and also debating. But first … he would do something that seems absolutely contrary to the Jesus we have known—
We have seen Jesus, baptized by John in the Jordan River, ~touching and healing more people than we can count, ~sitting as he taught in the Temple ~teaching from the fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee, ~walking on the tops of waves in the wee hours of the night ~extending his arm to Peter to get back in the boat, when his faith waned ~gathering little children into his arms to love them…
so what he does next seems totally out of character:
“Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”2 This is the second time Jesus cleansed the temple.3
Why such a violent display by the Lamb of God? Wasn’t Jesus’ behavior a bit extreme? Clearly, he was trying to make a very loud statement. Remember, these are the last days of our Lord’s life, so he is demonstrating the values and impressions he embodies – and the heart of the Father, who said, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”4
Hmmm . . . the primary reason for the house of God is prayer.
In our houses of worship, how much time is actually spent in prayer? I think of my church, as you think of yours, if you attend ~ is prayer a value that is upheld in our churches, such that they could be called ‘houses of prayer’?
And being that this is one of the last messages of our Lord, what does it mean for you and for me today? Prayer is a gift, intended to be a priority in our lives; not just at church, but in our individual, daily lives.
Many of us have observed some sort of Lenten exercise, but I believe we have a challenge to come out of this Holy Week of Monday that ought radicalize our lives:
Let us learn to become people who ardently pray and seek God.
The best message I have ever heard on this passage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U79YOKje2zU
“My house shall be called a house of prayer” by Jim Cymbala. Listen/watch, be challenged.
In light of what Jesus has revealed in his radical behavior just a few days before he goes to the cross, once again I ask myself ‘How then shall I live?’ I consider what God declared, “Be still and know that I am God.”5 That means I ought quiet myself and enter into God’s presence as I pray (not just shoot up prayers on the fly throughout my day). Individually, I must make prayer a priority. Indeed, David was an exemplary model: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.”6
Ah, yes, mornings. Our Lord liked to get to himself and pray in the quiet of the morning as well. In all things, Jesus is our role model. You know, it takes discipline to intentionally carve out time for prayer in the morning, but it is worth it. When I start my day in prayer ~ talking to God, listening for his voice, asking for wisdom, thanking him for his gifts ~ I am a better woman.
‘You? Would you be willing to take the challenge and give God 5 – 10 in the morning? I mean, you wouldn’t want the Lord to come and turn over tables in your life to get your attention, to get you to spend time with him, would you?
1 – Lazarus, who Jesus had recently raised from the dead
2 – Matthew 21.12-13
3 – John 2.13-17
4 – Isaiah 56.7
5 - Psalm 46.10
6 – Psalm 5.3