If a Church Will Not Pray

Matthew 21:12-13

Temple Model

12 And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”

Jesus was upset.


He was in the last week of his earthly life before going to the cross to pay for the sins of the world. He came to the Temple on Palm Sunday and it was filled with money changers and the hubbub of animal sales and the cooing of pigeons being sold in a place of worship. And for the second time in three years, “he cleansed the Temple.” He drove them out. He drove them out to the Temple because they had turned a place of worship, a place of prayer, into a “den of robbers.”

So many questions:
  • Why was it “a den of robbers?”
    • Because of the extortion of the money-changers?
    • Because they were robbing people of their place of worship?
    • Because they were robbing the Gentiles of a place to approach God? (The animals were sold in the court of the Gentiles).
    • Because they were robbing God of his rightful honor?
  • How could they return to these abuses of a place of worship after Jesus cleansed the Temple in the first year of his ministry?  (cf. John 2:13-22)
  • How could the chief priests and the elders and the Pharisees and Saducees all conspire to allow such abuse AGAIN?
  • Is this not dramatic example of the corruption of the religious leaders of Jerusalem in the time of Christ?

But here is another line of thought to explore for us.

Where is the Temple of God today?
Where does the Spirit of Jesus reside today?
Is it not us?

Observe and consider.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

1 Corinthians 3:16-17
Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

2 Corinthians 6:16
What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ephesians 2:21
in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.

What does it say about Christians if we do not make prayer a priority in our lives? Jesus came to the Temple and thrashed the inhabitants there for failing to make the house of God a place of prayer. What might he say to us, about our prayerlessness today?

I wonder.

“In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, make me a man of prayer. Make our church a place of prayer. Make our people, people of prayer. Make each of us holy Temples of worship as we passionately pursue You and Your glory and Your righteousness so that more people will know the greatness of our God. Amen.”

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