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August 22, 2017: A House of Prayer

Today’s Bible Reading: Esther 3-4Proverbs 16:1-16Luke 19:39-48Titus 3:1-8

Luke 19:39-48:

(19:39-40) The Pharisees long for the people to stop praising Jesus. So it ever was thus: false religions and false religious leaders will strongly advocate against the praising of the name of Jesus. The word “God” or “providence” they may have less objection to. But the name of Jesus—who himself reveals who God truly is—they would wish was never heard again, and certainly never praised again. But their attempts to prevent the work of Jesus and the honoring of Jesus are bound to fail: if the people were quiet, the very stones would cry out. Everything that has breath, let it praise the Lord; but also everything that is formed by the Word, now in flesh, praises Jesus too. Those who oppose Jesus still have the conscience that Jesus made within them. You cannot stop honor being given to Jesus.

(19:41-44) As Jesus drew near to Jerusalem, instead of celebrating the great city, he weeps over it. They did not recognize the time of “visitation” (19:44), that is Jesus’ coming to them. Beware lest we harden our hearts against what God is saying to us. There may come a time when it is too late and there is no more opportunity to turn back to God. The clear principle is: Do it now. If God speaks to you, respond. Do not delay. Now.

(19:45-48) When Jesus enters the temple, he is shocked to discover that the house of prayer for God has become an economic center of trade. The temple that was intended to be a light to the nations of the gospel of God, had become taken over by financial buying and selling, and the techniques involved had the effect of keeping people from outside of the Jewish nation on the outskirts. It had become a center of financial profit for the elite, not a house of prayer for all nations.  Let us make sure that our lives, our churches, our Christian organizations are places of prayer for all nations.

The false religious elite now want to destroy Jesus, but they cannot. Why? “All the people were hanging on [Jesus’] words.” The popularity that is gained through being a people pleaser is not worth the paper it is written on; but Christ, when he is exalted, draws all peoples from all nations to himself that he is calling. The Word of God, because of its power, is the surest protection against the enemies of God. It is the sword of the Spirit. And Jesus’ Word, surrounded by the people eager to hear what he was saying, protected him until the time was right for him to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world. Let us then be sure to have God’s Word at the heart of our lives and our churches.

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