In this last week of Jesus’ life, he knows that things are coming to a head. I suppose the disciples sense that this is the beginning of something. A return to Jerusalem, a triumphant entry, and now a confrontation at the temple. In Mark 11, Jesus enters the temple and clears it out, saying, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”
A striking condemnation. And at the same time, the kind of statement that pushes the Pharisees to the edge. Jesus is disrupting their status quo, their way of life. And for Jesus to come in, and turn things upside down, well it was too much for them.
And Jesus knows this. His ways are not the ways of the world. But for those who are listening, his ways make the most sense. His ways speak the truth. It cuts deep. It turns things upside down, when in reality, it is making things right side up again. In fact, it is us who have been living upside down, and Jesus comes in and overturns things – desiring to put things right again.
And so we are confronted – this house – his house – is it a house or prayer, or a den of thieves?
A house of prayer for all nations. It is one filled with compassion. A place that lives to Love their neighbour. And when we speak of this house, we don’t just speak of the church, the bcec. But of our individual lives. And yet there is a beauty, when our individual lives join the chorus of the body. That our church – that His church – can be a house of prayer. We know Jesus is about to demonstrate what a house of prayer really is. His life is the most fragrant offering. It is a life poured out to God.
The flip side of course, is whether our house remains a den of thieves. Stealing from those around us. Withholding the truth. Keeping the treasure for ourselves. Denying the world of the secret of the kingdom of God. Robbing God of the glory due his name.
Let Christ come in and overturn the moneychangers and sellers in your heart – and let him turn you right side up again. That you, and we, may become a house of prayer for all nations.