Legacy Devotional: Day 11
Herod’s Temple: A Place of Prayer
Jesus had the highest regard for the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple, which points towards the New Testament Church, was meant to be a place of prayer: a place of communion with God. God’s heart has never been for an elite priesthood to communicate with God on the people’s behalf but for people to be empowered to talk to Him directly.
Jesus longed to see the Temple used for its intended purpose but instead He was grieved to see it being used for selfish gain. On this occasion, the grief overflowed into anger and He overturned the tables in a clear condemnation of the abuse He witnessed. In Christ’s eyes, the Temple was overly concerned with the outward show of sacrifice, which the merchants were capitalising on, and not concerned enough with what truly matters: the heart response.
God’s House is not a building to house mere social activity, empty entertainment and religious rituals, but a home in which people can talk to God in real, vulnerable, meaningful ways.
Coffee, lights, sound systems, guitars, programs, and furniture are all great tools to help us create an environment that is conducive to people connecting with God and others; they are never just a means to themselves.
God’s heart is for lost people to come back into healthy relationship with Him as their Lord and Saviour. Church, then, must be a place where a culture of prayer is fostered—a place where our hearts become aligned with God’s heart, “who is not willing that any should perish” (2 Peter 3:9). A healthy church is a prayerful church, a church where lost people matter to its members because lost people matter to God. As the Church, we must be committed to praying for the lost and creating an environment where lost people can come in and connect directly back with God for themselves.
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“Then He went into the temple and began to drive out those who bought and sold in it, saying to them, "It is written, 'MY HOUSE IS A HOUSE OF PRAYER,' but you have made it a 'DEN OF THIEVES.' " - Luke 19:45-46, NKJV